SKA and Astronomy

Under the Space and Astronomy Super Science Initative, $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 a true mega-science project in its global reach, scale and scientific and technical ambition.

The array will be composed of several thousand antennas up to 5,000 kms apart operating as a single instrument. It is planned to have 10,000 times the potential of existing telescopes to make new discoveries.

On 21 August 2009, the Australian and New Zealand Governments formally agreed to cooperate on the SKA and jointly bid to host the project. Both Governments recognise the benefits that hosting the SKA will bring, ranging from business opportunities and industry development, boosting local research and innovation and attracting world-class talent, to more intangible benefits such as enhancing Australia's global standing and providing an iconic project to attract young people to science and engineering.

To find out more about the SKA project, visit the Australia and New Zealand SKA (anzSKA) home page.

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 aquisition 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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