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Exploring The Universe

ITDev has been working on an ambitious international project to enable scientists to study the universe in more detail than ever before, thanks to two cutting-edge radio telescopes, SKA-Mid and SKA-Low.

The Square Kilometre Array (SKA) organisation needed specialist software resources to contribute to the development of the SKA-Low Monitoring Calibration Control System. Experience of software and systems engineering applied to the development of Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition systems, which ITDev has, was a prerequisite.

Two radio telescope networks will be built in South Africa and Australia, where the view of the Milky Way is best and radio frequency interference is least. The optical fibre required will  wrap twice around the earth and will be so sensitive that it will detect the equivalent of an airport radar on a planet tens of light years away.

Data collected from the telescopes will be transferred to regional centres around the world to benefit the global science community. It is hoped that the project will provide crucial answers to questions about the existence, nature and composition of gravitational waves predicted by Einstein, and whether we are alone in the universe, whilst mapping hundreds of millions of galaxies.

The construction and operation of the telescopes is being overseen by the SKA Observatory (SKAO), an intergovernmental organisation supported by more than 500 engineers, over 1,000 scientists and policymakers in more than 20 countries.

ITDev is now also supplying Field-programmable Gate Array (FPGA) skilled resources to support the project.

Image credit: SKA Observatory

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