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Pandor: MeerKAT radio telescope will benefit other African countries

The first phase of the SKA project will see 133 dishes being built, with the second phase being rolled out by 2030.

Over 60 operational radio telescopes have been launched at the SKA site outside Carnarvon. Picture: Kevin Brandt/EWN

CAPE TOWN - Higher Education and Training Minister Naledi Pandor says the MeerKAT radio telescope catapults South Africa into one of the world's top computing destinations.

The former Science and Technology Minister, along with other senior government officials, have attended the launch of the precursor to the first phase of the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) in Carnarvon in the Northern Cape on Friday.

The first phase of the SKA project will see 133 dishes being built, with the second phase being rolled out by 2030.

Pandor says the initiative will benefit other African countries too.

“As we make progress with the South African part and move into the SKA 1, the other eight African countries come as co-part of the initiative.”

She says countries like Kenya, Madagascar, Mozambique and Mauritius will also be joining in efforts to boost the sensitivity of the SKA.

“This is a big innovation opportunity, big business opportunity and so being able to remotely operate a machine of this character and developing the computational capacity to do that, is of interest to every computer company.”

It's estimated that the entire project will be completed by 2050.

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