Gauteng is “ideally” placed to capture some of the benefits of the €1.5-billion international Square Kilometre Array (SKA) radio telescope project, which South African and Australia will share, member of the executive committee (MEC) for economic development Qedani Mahlangu said on Friday.
South Africa will host the majority of the giant radio telescope project. The country’s main site for the SKA is outside Carnarvon, in the Northern Cape.
Mahlangu said in her Budget Vote speech in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature, that the SKA project presented various opportunities for Gauteng industries to participate, especially in the manufacturing of pedestals and dishes for the SKA and MeerKAT projects.
The majority of the dishes for Phase 1 of the SKA will be built in South Africa and combined with the MeerKAT radio telescope array.
The MEC emphasised that there were also opportunities for provincial businesses to participate in the intense data capture and use that could define the next growth phase for new industries.
“Gauteng has become a node in the network of centres of competencies around the world for some of the capability necessary for the successful execution of the SKA project,” Mahlangu enthused.
The SKA Organisation recently confirmed to Engineering News that Phase 1 of the SKA project would involve the erection of 250 dishes in South Africa and Australia.
The first phase would represent 10% of the final SKA and involve the construction of antennas of up to about 100 km from the central core.
The organisation stated that the settingup of long baseline outstations would be part of Phase 2 of the project. During the construction of Phase 2, further dishes would be erected in South Africa, but no more would be set up in Australia.