TECHNOLOGY: Tellumat In Race To Hose Giant Telescope
Recent Western Cape Business News
Tellumat, the Cape Town turnkey technology development and manufacturing group, has completed the feed cluster sub-assemblies for the KAT 7 radio telescope that is currently being erected at Carnarvon in the Northern Cape.
The units, destined for each of the KAT 7 array’s seven telescopes, will receive and amplify data captured in the form of radio frequency (RF) emissions from celestial bodies. Tellumat’s delivery to KAT 7 also includes software to process the data, allowing for a close study of the cosmos.
The KAT 7, whose construction was commissioned by the Department of Science and Technology, could ultimately lead to South Africa winning the right to host the Square Kilometre Array (SKA). Four countries bid for the privilege, which will bestow immense scientific prestige on the victor, but only South Africa and Australia remain in the running.
The next step in the race is successful completion of the following stage in the project – the Meerkat telescope – by 2011. Tellumat Technology Group (TTG) managing executive Bennie Langenhoven explains that KAT 7 is being built as a ‘pathfinder’ or proof of concept for Meerkat (itself the final pathfinder for SKA, whose construction will commence in 2012).
On completion, Meerkat will be one of the world’s largest radio telescopes in its own right, spanning 80 dishes. Nevertheless, it will be dwarfed by SKA, whose 3000-plus 12-15 metre dishes will have a total footprint of one square kilometre.
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