Following a competitive tender process, EMITE OTA test systems, together with Australian partner company Maser, has been awarded a €1M contract by the SKA Observatory (SKAO) to manufacture and supply a reverberation chamber for the SKA project in Australia.

The SKAO is a global observatory that is building and operating cutting-edge radio telescopes that will transform our understanding of the Universe, and deliver benefits to society through global collaboration and innovation. The SKAO has  a global footprint and consists of the SKAO Global Headquarters in the U.K., the SKAO’s two telescopes at radio quiet sites in South Africa and Australia, and associated facilities to support the operations of the telescopes.

The SKA telescopes will be extremely sensitive instruments, that need to operate in protected, radio quiet areas to detect the exquisitely faint radio signals from space. The SKA-Low telescope, currently being built on Wajarri Country in outback Western Australia, will detect radio waves in the 50 to 350 MHz range — a similar frequency to AM and FM radio signals and TV frequencies. All electrical equipment must be tested to verify that it does not ‘leak’ radio waves that would impede the detection of these signals from space, and must be shielded in specially designed cases if it has the potential to interfere.

EMITE has been contracted to manufacture and supply parts for a reverberation chamber for the SKA-Low telescope. This chamber will be used to undertake the emissions compliance testing of SKA-Low telescope systems and associated hardware. Any technology used on the SKA-Low telescope site has to meet the most stringent radio interference standards ever achieved. The reverberation chamber will be used to characterise the emissions from unshielded technologies and devices, and provide the detailed information needed to determine shielding requirements.

EMITE is partnering with local Australian company Maser, who will assemble and deploy the chamber at the SKAO’s Engineering Operations Centre in Geraldton, Australia.

“After our first co-operation with the European Space Agency, the project for SKAO is particularly interesting for us. We are honoured to have our test systems being used for the extraordinarily challenging mission of SKAO. The SKA telescopes require unparalleled radio quiet and technologies used in proximity to the antennas must meet the strictest radio interference requirements. EMITE’s involvement in this project is really exciting and an enormous challenge,” said Javier Paredes, CSO of EMITE.