SKA Roadmap Projects

ASTRON is directly involved in a number of the Work Package Consortia carrying out the design of elements of the SKA. These activities are funded through a variety of sources, most important are the DOME collaboration with IBM and the SKA-TSM project which receives money from SNN and the Province of Drenthe as well as ASTRON's own resources. The National Roadmap will be the major source of support for the activities in the Low Frequency Aperture Array (LFAA) and Mid Frequency Aperture Array (MFAA) consortia from mid-2014 onwards. It will also fund a limited amount of work in the Science Data Processing (SDP) and Central Signal Processing (CSP) consortia and finance project scientists who will provide support across all the SKA workpackages.

Activities in the LFAA consortium include the following: leading the consortium, engineering management, system engineering and varying levels of involvement in the designs for the antennas, receiver/RF over Fibre system, signal processing and local monitoring and control. The realisation of an aperture array verification system (AAVS1) to be completed early 2016 will also figure prominently in ASTRON's LFAA work plans.

 


ASTRON is also leading the MFAA consortium. Activities include consortium management, system engineering, front-end (antenna) design and array prototypes.

Within SDP, ASTRON is leading the design of both the computational hardware and the scientific data processing software ("pipelines"). ASTRON also plays an important role in the management of the consortium.

One or two project scientists will be appointed from Roadmap funds to provide support in bringing together astronomy and engineering. The project scientists will support the engineering teams in understanding the requirements in order to optimize the design, while at the same time ensuring that the astronomers are kept informed of the (expected) technical characteristics and performance of the SKA telescopes. Observations and experiments with prototypes and demonstrators may also be part of the activities the project scientists.

The NL-SKA Office coordinates the NL participation in the global SKA project. Its activities include support of the NL Board Members, the search for broad support of NL participation in SKA (including the funding of construction and operations), development of SKA project policy, liaison with the (Office of the) SKA Organisation, industry engagement. The Head of the NL-SKA Office is also PI of the (Roadmap funded) activities.

 

Goals of the Project
Work in the LFAA and SDP work package consortia will result in design documents & reports for the SKA System & Preliminary Design Reviews (January-March 2015) as well as the Critical Design Reviews (originally scheduled for Q4 2016). After CDR, the consortia are expected to stay involved (possibly in reduced form) in procurement, production and acceptance of the element, although this is formally still to be decided (plans for the construction phase are still to be agreed by the project).
The MFAA activities are part of the SKA Advanced Instrumentation Plan, preparing technology for SKA Phase 2. As such the timeline and deliverables are slightly different than those for the work packages with SKA Phase 1 deliverables. The main goal of stage 1 (started November 2013) is to prove a degree of technical readiness (level 5) for the MFAA technology and will be concluded with the SRR. Stage 2 will start in November 2015 and is due to is to be concluded with a PDR in November 2016.

 

 



 

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