SKA to be built in SA, Australia

2012-05-25 14:34

Amsterdam - South Africa and Australia will share the location for the world's most powerful radio telescope, the Square Kilometre Array's scientific consortium announced on Friday.

"We have decided on a dual-site approach," said SKA board chairperson John Womersley at a press conference held at Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport, following a meeting of the SKA organisation's members in the Dutch capital.

Both South Africa and Australia were competing to win the $2bn contract for the SKA, an instrument that will be 50 times more sensitive than today's most powerful radio telescopes.

Scientists hope the SKA, a massive radio telescope, will shed light on fundamental questions about the Universe including how it began, why it is expanding and whether it contains life beyond our planet.

The eagerly awaited decision now means that engineers can connect antennas at Australia's core site at Mileura station, about 100km west of Meekathara in western Australia. Other antennae are distributed across Australia and New Zealand.

South Africa's site in the arid Karoo region will now also be connected by a remote link to a network of dishes stretching across southern and eastern Africa and as far away as Ghana.

Its construction is scheduled to start in 2016, becoming fully operational in 2024.

  • Jono - 2012-05-25 14:39


      JasonMichelleVanderbijlpark - 2012-05-25 14:51

      Yeah, Congrats... UNFORTUNATLY, just another project that the government will try and twist in order to put some cash into their pockets...

      Mike - 2012-05-25 15:05

      Hi JasonMichelle I think you have got the wrong subject. This is science. If you are looking to do racism why don't you join the Zuma Painting diatribe. That is where you will find all the people to fight with.

      Malavi10 - 2012-05-25 15:07

      Great News!

      Malavi10 - 2012-05-25 15:07

      Great News!

      leon.puth - 2012-05-25 15:12

      im happy they made the decision, sad we didnt get the whole thing though. i hope its costs dont increase by 15 times as well

      JasonMichelleVanderbijlpark - 2012-05-25 15:18

      Where is my statement saying anything about race, Mike??? Are you guys blind? Do you not see what happens in this country? ANYTHING and everything positive ALWAYS turns and bites us (South Africans, not a specific race) in the ass!

      ryan.macdougall - 2012-05-25 15:27

      Whos the stupid troll that thumbs down every comment. get a life and a job.

      thitos - 2012-05-25 15:28

      Born in Vanderbijlpark. Schooled in Vanderbijlpark. Broke virginity in Vanderbijlpark. Got married in Vanderbijlpark. Will probably die in Vanderbijlpark. No wonder you think the way you do. Don't be such a negative plaas jappie man, please. Mr. Prophet of Doom.

      Ben - 2012-05-25 15:36


      Kato - 2012-05-25 16:02

      Great news but 2024 is just too far.

      Freddie - 2012-05-25 17:00

      So is is now called the S10kKa?

      Andrew - 2012-05-25 17:15

      At last some really good news this week!!!!

      chadjason.wilson - 2012-05-25 22:13

      Hedging bets I believe... Newsheadlines to follow.... 1)Top astronmer murdered while workig on site 2)Expensive metals stolen downs telescope 3)Maintence problems strike Cape telescope 4)Malema to be assiged curator 5)Mdluli to head security 6)Cape telescope abadoned 10 years after its incepetion...

      Benn - 2012-05-26 06:30

      All indications are that SA will hardly exist in its present form by 2024. Realism does not equate to negativism. If someone tells you that the bedroom is burning, do you reprimand him for being negative?

      thitos - 2012-05-26 09:00

      Didn't you also say the construction of the stadiums will never be completed, let alone complete on time? You make me sick. Don't bring your bedroom problems here so early in the morning, who cares if it's fire? Head over to Health24.

      henk63 - 2012-05-27 09:46

      @JasonMichelle - Strange how you get all those down thumbs when only recently, the powers you talk about misspent R20bn on toll roads. Fortunately the $2bn will be closely watched by the donating countries and hopefully spent wisely. As long as government is held at arm's length, the project may just stay within budget with no greedy paws reaching into the cookie jar.

      tanya.retief - 2012-05-28 09:12

      This is great news! We need these kind of things. (I'm so gatvol of all they nay sayers....)

  • hayden.cajee - 2012-05-25 14:40


      hayden.cajee - 2012-05-25 14:52

      1 thumbs down, hahahahaha, seriously?

      LostAndDamned - 2012-05-25 14:58

      must be an ozzie?

      Ben - 2012-05-25 15:00

      2 now. hahaha

      Gerhard - 2012-05-25 15:02

      Now 3. Didn't know sheep had internet access.

      Press - 2012-05-25 15:02

      Or some western europe agent who took Gwede Mantashe literaly when he told them what to do with their investments in South Africa . . .

      hayden.cajee - 2012-05-25 15:13

      8 Thumbs Down, hahahaahahahha, REALLY SAD GUYS, i feel your spouses sorry.

  • Alida - 2012-05-25 14:40


      FreeSpeech - 2012-05-25 14:52

      Are you talking about black south africa or white south africa?

      Christopher - 2012-05-25 15:01

      The people that pay the taxes!

      Morama - 2012-05-25 15:05

      @Freespeech,can you maybe clarrify us with those SouthAfricas you are talking about? Ooooh....hold on,there's no need because you are one of those who still lives in the past!!

      Bruce - 2012-05-25 15:16

      Congrats SA:)

      Bruce - 2012-05-25 15:25

      @free speech, bro its time to grow up, nappie-rash keeps you negative all the time, stop sulking and celebrate the good news!

      rbphiri - 2012-05-25 16:21

      @ FreeSpeech please avoid speaking freely if you have nothing sensible to say.

      Alf - 2012-05-27 14:52

      Is it true that government has already formed a committee to decide how to "channel" the funds into certain accounts without raising too much suspicion?

  • Zing - 2012-05-25 14:41

    Well done to all who worked so hard to achieve this! Now get that sucker installed and get ET on the line!

      stanton.clarke - 2012-05-25 15:09

      so he can come and govern South Africa.

      rbphiri - 2012-05-25 16:22

      Let's make sure corruption is alien to ET, he shouldn't become accustom to it.

      Antin - 2012-05-26 11:57

      I'm sure Zoomer is an alien already. Did you ever LOOK at him?

  • johan.pieters - 2012-05-25 14:41

    Some good news for a change.

      rbphiri - 2012-05-25 16:23

      Beats talking about someone's weak spear.

  • lydonmcg - 2012-05-25 14:41

    It doesn't make much sense. It sounds like a bit of a cop-out.

      Koos - 2012-05-25 14:46

      With Africa's history in mind they had to make sure that at least 50% will be working at anyone time. If /when the other 50% works it will be a bonus. Eksdom need to build a nuclear plant in the Karoo to accomodate this. Wonder who in the anc is going to gain in all of this?

      Abel - 2012-05-25 14:48

      Koos come on

      Jill - 2012-05-25 14:49

      FIRSTLY WELL DONE TO SOUTH AFRICA. WE ARE PROUD OF YOU. However I do agree with lydonmcg - what a copy out!! And somebody please enlighten me as to how you "share a location" of a satelitte - and nogal to Australia Can I therefore assume that as it is Australia that their satelitte is going to be painted yellow and if we find ET first, that they are going to be "bad sports" about it?? :)

      lynsey.rimbault - 2012-05-25 14:51

      Don't be so negative, there is no need to turn good news into bad news all the time.

      Ben - 2012-05-25 15:01

      Koos jy moet meer lees broer

      Jill - 2012-05-25 15:02

      obviously thumbs down and lynsey LOVE AUSTRALIA and @lynsey, I did not turn good into bad - read my comment properly and what I have put in CAPITAL LETTERS. Some people have no sense of humour :)

      Warren - 2012-05-25 15:08

      Koos, is there anything that can get you positive, or can we treat you like a troll? Good news should be celebrated

      Mike - 2012-05-25 15:13

      Hi Koos If you want to do politics and hatred why don't you go to the Zuma Painting discussion. This is science.

      Koos - 2012-05-25 15:23

      I'm always happy as there are people that is worse of than me in this world. But you should always be realistic, even whdn the news is positive.

      lynsey.rimbault - 2012-05-25 15:27

      I wasn't saying anything about you Jill, I clicked reply to lydonmcg. I think this is good news because it is a scientific advancement which will benefit from having input from South Africa and Australia. And i did smile at the ET joke, I have no sense of humour for people who turn every article on News24 into a racist/South-Africa-bashing rant. You will notice that lydonmcg's comment immediately prompted Koos' rant.

      Jill - 2012-05-25 15:45

      @lynsey - please accept my apologies!! I was not looking properly (probably the 2 glasses vino I had at lunch?:) Have a wonderful weekend.

      lydonmcg - 2012-05-25 15:48

      Of course it's good news that we get to co-host it, but according to the SKA Organisation's own press release, they "identified Southern Africa as the preferred site." We should have gotten the whole thing! At least we're getting the lion's share of the dishes. "The majority of SKA dishes in Phase 1 will be built in South Africa, combined with MeerKAT...all the dishes and the mid frequency aperture arrays for Phase II of the SKA will be built in Southern Africa..."

      Juan - 2012-05-25 16:28

      From what I understand it's a km2 array telescopr, which means it's an array of radio antenneas. Instead of having the aray in one location, they are going to have it on several locations. It's not a cop-out I think, but they felt it offeres a technical advantage to have the array set up that way.

  • paul.maarman - 2012-05-25 14:43


  • almeleh - 2012-05-25 14:43

    Very terse statement. How will that work?

  • calliedj - 2012-05-25 14:44

    Oh grow a pair and make a decision.

      Gerhard - 2012-05-25 14:55


  • Chris - 2012-05-25 14:46

    Great news for South Africa.

  • richard.hipkin - 2012-05-25 14:46

    We sharing with the Aussies?? Damn...

  • Faizel Mahomed - 2012-05-25 14:46

    How pathetic. I mean really. Those clowns are stupid for the dual crap. We won, tell those Ausie's to jump off a cliff. Don't be afraid

  • Bob - 2012-05-25 14:48

    This is great news!

  • Craig - 2012-05-25 14:49

    What, so each country gets only half a square kilometer?

      Gerhard - 2012-05-25 14:56

      That's correct, and then they will link the two with an undersea cable. The tender for the undersea cable will be awarded to Kapsch.

      En - 2012-05-25 16:20

      No not entirely true. The technical committee suggested SA, so South Africa is getting the majority of the work. "The majority of SKA dishes in phase one will be built in South Africa, combined with MeerKAT," it said. "Further SKA dishes will be added to the Askap array in Australia. All the dishes and the mid-frequency aperture arrays for phase two of the SKA will be built in Southern Africa, while the low-frequency aperture array antennas for phases one and two will be built in Australia."

      Antin - 2012-05-26 12:08

      What two poor wretches could EVER give EN a thumbs down? (Thanks EN, for link.)

  • afurstenburg1 - 2012-05-25 14:50

    This should take the spotlight for a change away with stupid politicis

  • Nhlanhla - 2012-05-25 14:50

    How can two places share the same location?

      Themba - 2012-05-25 15:53

      They will share the Array and not the location

      Antin - 2012-05-26 12:11

      Sorry skattie, it's not two places sharing the same location, but two locations sharing the same place. Huge difference, same thing -see?

      pierre.devilliers.9231 - 2012-06-24 09:18

      They basically will have quite a few telescopes scattered mainly over Southern Africa and Australia/NZ. The "pictures" taken from every telescope will then be combined to form a "super" picture. (this can be done as the telescopes are connected and they will send their "pictures" to a central location to be combined into a super detailed picture.)

  • Robi - 2012-05-25 14:51

    why don't they just call it 1/2square kilometre stuff SA...

      Gerhard - 2012-05-25 14:59

      Or the 123.552691 acre array, or the 50 hectare array. Ja, the last one sounds way cooler!!

  • dave.leverton - 2012-05-25 14:56

    If this puts and end to discussion of fracking in the Karoo then even better.

  • Bomb - 2012-05-25 14:56

    The one in Aus is a sensible backup. SA currently not a very stable economical and political environment. In a couple of years some group will probably come out and claim the land back it is built on, or some stupid donkey will shout, "Nationalise"! Thats offcourse if it doesn't get carried away piece by piece in the first place. These people are not stupid, they just following the age old advice of, "Dont put all your eggs in one basket"

      Koos - 2012-05-25 15:05

      The Aussies have already started. By year's end, 34 of 36 antennas will be completed, and six will be ready to start initial observations.

      dewalds3 - 2012-05-25 15:32

      It is a sensible approach. The project will most probably be done in phases as well. If one of the countries cannot meet project deadlines or stay within budget, the array distribution could still be adapted by taking away from the non-achiever and adding to the achiever with a capped maximum percentage that can be moved across. If it was my money, I would structure the contracts like that.

  • QuantumDM - 2012-05-25 14:56

    Fantastic! I think combining the sites was really the best solution for SCIENCE!

  • nhlapop - 2012-05-25 14:57

    Good for our Economy. Congradulations......

  • pmbadenhorst - 2012-05-25 14:57

    CONGRATS SA this is a huge achievement!

  • spookhuis - 2012-05-25 14:58

    Don't let Sanral any where near it, it will end up costing 100b

      Gerhard - 2012-05-25 15:34

      There is always one comment that literally makes me laugh out loud and make coffee come out of my nose!! Thanks spookhuis!!

      Koos - 2012-05-25 15:41

      This works out to around R500 000 000 per kilometer of road. Something VERY ancESTORY going on here. No wonder Scamral covered nearly everything in black ink.

  • Ben - 2012-05-25 14:59

    This is awesome news.... Today rocks. 2 Big things. The SKA AND TODAY is a new era in space transportation. The free enterprise space race has begun!! SpaceX just finished their first trip!! Companies would hopefully do better than governments. If governments wanna spend money on crap like wars...let them...

      Ben - 2012-05-25 15:03

      AAAND all this on Towel DAY!!

      HugoMabasa - 2012-05-25 18:46

      Africa week

  • veldt66 - 2012-05-25 14:59

    Good news for a change!!

  • nmateke - 2012-05-25 15:00

    Thank you for bringing back a smile to all. They got scared of the ANC as it would have called for a boycott on traveling to Australia ..krakrakra

  • nhlapop - 2012-05-25 15:01

    If you didnt hear it with your own ears or see it with your own eyes , dont invent it with your small mind & share it with your big mouth. You cant always turn good news into bad one.

  • Willem - 2012-05-25 15:01

    WOOOOOOOOOT, *gets out the cham-pag-ne* !!!!

  • anton.dwl - 2012-05-25 15:03

    ummm, last time I checked, sharing first place is like french kissing your sister.

  • Aaron - 2012-05-25 15:10

    $2bn? Big whoopie. It's just emerged that govt blew R90bn just on the Gauteng road upgrade. As a revenue producing exercise this won't even dent the amount of money that the ANC wastes.

  • Bob - 2012-05-25 15:10

    Well done to those involved. I wonder why they decided to not give it to SA altogether... Could it be that SA is considered as an UNSTABLE country with a dodgy government..????

      Mike - 2012-05-25 15:22

      Hi Bob Why do I think that your white?

      Bob - 2012-05-25 15:41

      Hi Mike,You don’t need to be white to be smart.. The country is a circus and the world can see that..

      garef.hater - 2012-05-25 15:53

      agreed..... guess people really wonder if SA will pull through and actually finish on dead-line.... but we the people and our corporate companies need to take responsibility and insure the contracts for transport, assembly, and many more can be utilized by leading corporations and used to create jobs.... keep it local but keep it tight.....

      Mike - 2012-05-25 15:58

      You made your point Bob and I am sure everyone knows where you stand. It's called Afro pessimism

      Georg - 2012-05-25 16:00

      Bob, that statement makes my day. Question: Who keeps tabs on the spending? Hopefully nobody remotely connected to the ANC.

      Bob - 2012-05-25 16:22

      Hi Mike, I am only this way, because the government has made me this way. Beleive you me I WISH it were different....I really really do..!

      HugoMabasa - 2012-05-25 18:19

      Bob dont worry, we hosted the Rugby world cup,cricket 20 and FIFA world cup,we have cemented our reputation as people who not only deliver on time but deliver quality. garef hater we have done it before,we will do it again(we deliver 10 world class venues ) this coincides with the massive infrastructural development which is planned for the next 5-10 years. we are also expecting the commissioning of a test module (PBMR) at koeberg within the next two years,be pessimistic if you want to but I see no reason to

  • Noa - 2012-05-25 15:14

    This is awesome!!!

  • Tommie - 2012-05-25 15:15

    Hoop dat die "Fracking" in die Noord Kaap se kanse al hoe skraler word met die SKA projek. Baie goeie nuus. Fracking goeie nuus !!

  • Themba - 2012-05-25 15:17

    Hooray! May be I will get a job with my physics degrees!

      Bob - 2012-05-25 15:54

      Hey will get the job for sure...if you are black ofcourse..BEE will protect us my brother..!!

      HugoMabasa - 2012-05-25 18:21

      take it to PhD level to be safe else come to UCT,there is a national programme in space science and astrophysics

  • Charmaine - 2012-05-25 15:17

    Great news! A pity we didn't get the whole project though. But congrats to all who participated

  • Charmaine - 2012-05-25 15:18

    Great news! A pity we didn't get the whole project though. But congrats to all who participated

  • Gavin - 2012-05-25 15:18

    sharing is caring :-)

  • Lawrence - 2012-05-25 15:19

    Just don't mess with our Khoisan tranquility in the Karoo.

  • glen.e.huysamer - 2012-05-25 15:20

    This will be a great boost to the economy, and to South Africa and Africa as a whole. I wait in anticipation to when the entire operation here and in Australia is all up and running to see what awaits to be discovered. Well done South Africa.

      Sipho - 2012-05-25 15:22

      ? who will get "a boost"?

      Koos - 2012-05-25 15:43

      sexwale's construction mates.

  • stuart.bigmore - 2012-05-25 15:20

    Another project that dosnt benefit the south african people, in a country that cant afford toll roads we can find a few billion for this white elephant, really who cares about what came first, we have much more critical issues to be addressed in this country,who the hell wants 2000 satelites to muck up the karoo,we were all against fracking up the karoo for oil, but no its ok to build 2000 satelites. Really i feel sorry for the people in this country that are relying on the goverment for change and a better life for all, thats whats important!!

      Koos - 2012-05-25 15:45

      We should not be negative but we all know why government chased this goose that is about to lay a couple golden eggs for a few connected cadavers.

      HugoMabasa - 2012-05-25 18:22

      Imagine me liking Koos ' comment

  • Sipho - 2012-05-25 15:21

    Sharing? Over a distance of 12,000 kms?

      Ben - 2012-05-25 15:41

      Yes nice thing about information is that it can travel pretty fast.

  • Nigel - 2012-05-25 15:24

    Good. At this point I'll take any bit of good news I can get.

  • Thabang - 2012-05-25 15:24

    This is a milestone for the African continent. Lets hope we will filter in diversity more science and technoloy students to work on the world's most powerful radio telescope

      HugoMabasa - 2012-05-25 18:23

      most universities had programmes in place specifically for this,notably physics,astronomy and electrical engineering,UCT is one of them

  • Dhavandran - 2012-05-25 15:25

    as much i am happy but theres so much to be done in our country with regards to health,education,housing and infrastructure. we should have let the aussies keep the ska and we could have got on with service delivery to achieve what our democracy promised us. come on praveen , lets get our ducks in a row instead of using our money to keep your corrupt comrades in luxury.

  • Man - 2012-05-25 15:35


  • Jose - 2012-05-25 15:41

    More good news: We already have the structures in place.... just need to take them off our existing Gauteng toll roads and ship those UV lights and gantries to the karoo, and it will be funded by a toll-system on the karoo N1....two birds with one stone.

  • André - 2012-05-25 15:48

    This doesn't make sense... Where will it be built??

      HugoMabasa - 2012-05-25 18:24

      in your garden

      Glas - 2012-05-26 13:04

      Have you ever been to the Karoo???? Plenty of space.

  • louis.langenhoven - 2012-05-25 15:51

    great for South Africa!

  • Pagel - 2012-05-25 15:53

    More detail here:

  • Shaun.groenewald - 2012-05-25 16:03