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FIBRE OPTICS: SA Company to Supply SKA - World’s Largest Radio Telescope

 





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SIA Solutions has received unsurpassed credit for its expertise in the area of fibre optic communications in specialised environments: the company recently won a tender to supply fibre to KAT 7, the forerunner to MEERKAT and SKA-South Africa, South Africa’s short-listed bid to host the world’s most powerful radio telescope.

Following the successful building and testing of a prototype dish at the Hartebeesthoek Radio Astronomy Observatory near Johannesburg, the MeerKAT team is currently working on KAT 7, a seven-dish prototype array in the Karoo that will in turn lead to MeerKAT – which will itself be one of the world’s largest, most powerful telescopes when it goes live in 2013.

Ntsane Kolisang, Marketing Director of SIA, the 60-40 joint venture between empowered technology leaders Tellumat and Harambe Technologies, says the fibre will connect the 7 receive dishes for KAT 7.

Kolisang does not disclose the price tag of the contract, saying merely that the bid was competitive and that the supply, installation and commissioning services offered are strategic to SIA Solutions’ future plans.

He explains that the telescope requires highly specialised know-how. “There are strict rules governing how cables are laid in these situations, and where,” he says. “Electro-magnetic emissions must be avoided, to prevent interference with the sensitive receive dishes that form the telescope.”

Kolisang says SIA Solutions was chosen because of its experience in specialised fibre connectivity projects within mission critical environments, examples of which include a telescope site in Hartebeesthoek, Meraka Institute site connecting Satellite Application Centre with the Radio Astronomy Observation Centre and several South African airports.

“The combination of our technical skill-set, highly competitive pricing and aggressive marketing of our proven expertise were instrumental in winning the deal,” he concludes.


 
 
 
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