• Image: Ventia
    Image: Ventia

Ventia recently marked the first groundbreaking activities associated with the construction of the SKA-Low telescope infrastructure in Western Australia, on Wajarri Country.

The SKA Observatory (SKAO) telescopes, being built in Western Australia and South Africa, will be the largest and most advanced radio telescopes on Earth.

With the support of the SKAO, members of the Wajarri community, SKAO partners and contractors, Ventia marked the important construction milestone in a ceremony on 6 September.

The event marked the first terrain-clearing earthworks at a section of the SKA-Low telescope’s southern spiral arm. Optic fibre machines began trenching the terrain to lay the AARNET fibre link that will eventually connect the first array of SKA-Low antennas to supercomputing facilities based in Perth.

“This is a very significant milestone in what is one of the largest global scientific endeavours in history,” said Mark Ralston, Ventia’s Group Executive – Telecommunications. “Ventia, the SKAO and our regional and Indigenous partners have made great progress on this exciting project. As we redefine service excellence, this project is also a great example of leveraging our telecommunications capabilities into exciting new markets like Space and Defence.”

The SKAO is an intergovernmental organisation, supported by 16 countries across the globe, that will build and operate cutting-edge radio telescopes to transform our understanding of the Universe. SKAO is building the world’s largest and most advanced radio telescopes: SKA-Low on Wajarri Country in Western Australia and SKA-Mid in the Karoo in South Africa.

Ventia secured a contract with the SKAO in December 2022, valued at approximately $A200 million over three years, for the provision of power and fibre networks as well as the design and commission of Central and Remote Processing Facilities at the Western Australian site.

The Wajarri Yamaji are the Traditional Owners and native title holders of Inyarrimanha Ilgari Bundara, the CSIRO Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory, where the SKA-Low telescope is being built.

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