Aurecon wins bid for world's most powerful telescope

3 December 2009 - Aurecon has been awarded the role of Design Contractor for the Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory (MRO) infrastructure in Western Australia as part of CSIRO’s $111 million Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder (ASKAP) project.

ASKAP will comprise up to 36 parabolic antennas spaced over the MRO site in Boolardy pastoral station, together with essential electronics, computing and data processing building and civil infrastructure.

It is the primary development project under Australia’s bid to establish the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) in Australia.

The SKA is a proposed $2-3 billion next-generation radio telescope project under development by scientists across the globe. It will be the world’s most powerful telescope once constructed.

Australia and South Africa are the two nations short-listed to host the SKA with the final decision anticipated in 2012. If Australia is selected, it could be the world’s centre of radio astronomy for the remainder of the century.

David DeBoer, CSIRO ASKAP Project Director, stated, “ASKAP will be a world leading next-generation radio telescope in its own right, as well as a vital pathfinder to the future SKA project.

“ASKAP will pioneer and test revolutionary new technologies and techniques as well as showcase the outstanding characteristics of the MRO site and the potential for the SKA to be located in Australia. We are pleased to have Aurecon working with us on such an exciting project.��

Aurecon’s Steve Negus, CSIRO Client Relationship Executive, says ASKAP is a milestone project in a relationship with CSIRO on various radio astronomy projects that date back to the 1980s when Aurecon was involved in the design of the Australia Telescope at Narrabri, New South Wales.

Aurecon has been pleased to assist CSIRO with a number of lead up projects associated with the SKA as part of CSIRO’s industry engagement plan.

“Aurecon understands the SKA is a once-in-a-century opportunity to demonstrate not only Aurecon’s, but our nation’s leading technical expertise in this most important field of research,” says Steve.

 “We are proud to be associated with CSIRO and look forward to assisting to deliver the MRO infrastructure for ASKAP to provide a world-class radio astronomy facility that will produce leading edge science.”

 The MRO infrastructure project will be led and delivered from Aurecon’s Perth office with support from a multi-disciplinary team around the country through the various phases from concept design to construction superintendence.

 For more information on ASKAP visit www.atnf.csiro.au/projects/askap.