The Spanish participation in the Square Kilometre Array (SKA)
The Square Kilometre Array (SKA) project intends to build a radio-interferometer with 1-sq-km collecting area, and thousands of antennas with baselines up to 3000 km, to be hosted in two continents (Africa and Oceania). This will provide tens of times more sensitivity and allow astronomers to survey the entire sky thousands of times faster than any system currently in existence, with the ability to image huge areas of sky in parallel.
Spain is actively participating in the SKA detailed design phase, both at a scientific and technological level. The potential of SKA for fundamental breakthroughs in Astrophysics, Physics, and Astrobiology has made that the Spanish SKA White Book has been published, with more than 125 authors who have summarized in 29 chapters the interest of the Spanish scientific community. At the same time, SKA constitutes a technology tractor for high-impact societal areas. Among the 100 companies and research institutions across 20 countries that are contributing to SKA design, 10 Spanish research centres and 11 companies participate in several work packages (Dishes, Signal & Data Transport, Central Signal Processor, Science Data Processor, Telescope Manager, and Infrastructure). This Spanish technological participation in the SKA, with an estimated financial value of ~€2M, has been officially acknowledged by the SKA Board. Since October 2013 a representative of the Spanish government has been regularly invited to participate in the SKA Board meetings. Furthermore, at the beginning of 2014, the Board of the Spanish Astronomy Infrastructures Network endorsed the recommendation issued by the Radio Astronomy Infrastructures working group on the interest of the scientific community and industry that Spain explores the possibility to join the SKA project as Full Memb er before the construction phase starts. The interest of the Spanish community and industry was restated during the SKA Spanish day held in October 2014 while a new SKA Spanish Industry Day will be organized by CDTI in 2016.
The aim of this talk is providing a retrospective view of the Spanish participation in SKA project and explain the current status of its participation and opportunities of involvement.