SKA and Astronomy

Under the Space and Astronomy Super Science Initiative, $160.5 million will be invested to bolster Australia's proud record in space and astronomy research and boost our chance of hosting the world's biggest and most powerful radio telescope, the Square Kilometre Array. Investment in this important scientific infrastructure will help to build a stronger higher education and innovation system for the 21st century.

Square Kilometre Array (SKA)

Artists impression of the SKA at the site in Western AustraliaThe SKA is an international project to build the world’s largest and most sensitive radio telescope. Australia is one of ten countries that are full members of the international SKA collaboration.

The SKA is not a single telescope, but an array of instruments spread over long distances. The SKA will be co-hosted in two locations, the Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory in Western Australia and the Karoo desert in South Africa. Due to the size of the array, the SKA will be able to achieve feats of observation impossible with current generation telescopes.

Along with scientific discoveries, involvement in the SKA project provides a range of broader benefits for Australia. These include improved industry capability, the development of spin-off technologies and attracting young people to science and engineering,

Construction of the SKA is scheduled to commence in late 2018. To find out more about the SKA project, visit the Australian SKA homepage.

Space and Astronomy

Other projects which the Science and Infrastructure Division are managing include:

  • $20.9 million for Australia to establish the Australian Astronomical Observatory, home of the world's top-ranked four-metre optical telescope
  • $10 million to construct state-of-the-art instruments and data acquisition infrastructure to store, process and analyse information captured from different next-generation telescopes
  • $80 million over four years to establish the Pawsey HPC Centre for SKA Science, a high-performance computing centre in Perth
  • $88.4 million to give Australia a 10% share in the Giant Magellan Telescope, the largest optical telescope in the world, and guarantee Australian researchers valuable observation time.

More information about Super Science Initiatives is available.

Further information on Australia's investment in space science infrastructure through NCRIS is also available.

The Australian Space Research Program is implemented by the Space Policy Unit in the Manufacturing Division. Further information about it, and about space manufacturing and industry is available at their website.

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