The Square Kilometre Array (SKA) project is an international initiative to build the world’s largest and most sensitive radio telescope.
India’s participation in this ambitious project underscores its commitment to advancing global scientific research and technology.


Overview of the SKA Project:

  • Largest Radio Telescope: The SKA will encompass over a square kilometre (one million square metres) of collecting area, making it the largest radio telescope ever built.
  • Array of Antennas: Rather than a single large telescope, the SKA will consist of thousands of dish antennas operating as a unified system.
    Location of Antennas: Approximately 200 antennas will be installed in South Africa and over 130,000 in Australia, chosen for their remote locations to minimize human interference.
  • Enhanced Capabilities: Once operational, the SKA will be 5 to 60 times more powerful than existing radio telescopes functioning in similar frequency ranges.

Benefits for India:

  • Formal Membership: India has decided to formally join the SKA project, enhancing its involvement in this significant international scientific collaboration.
  • Science and Technology Gains: Despite no SKA facilities being located in India, the country will reap substantial science and technology benefits from full membership.
  • Previous Contributions: India has been contributing to the SKA project for several years, but full membership entails signing an international treaty and financial commitment, leading to greater scientific opportunities.
  • Similar to Other Projects: Like the LHC and ITER, which are located abroad but offer significant benefits to India, the SKA will provide rich dividends to the Indian scientific community.
  • Preferential Access: Full membership grants India preferential access to SKA facilities and more substantial time allocation on the radio telescope based on its contribution.
  • Scientific Opportunities: Preferential time on the radio telescope will facilitate cutting-edge research, with competitive bidding offering additional time slots.


Funding Commitment: India has approved Rs 1,250 crore for the SKA project, covering its contribution for the construction phase.

Broader Participation: India is also building a gravitational wave detector to join the international LIGO network and is a full member of the ITER project, which focuses on harnessing nuclear fusion energy.

Active Involvement: India’s active participation in the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) highlights its ongoing commitment to some of the most exciting experiments in particle physics, similar to its involvement in the SKA project.

Legacy Editor Changed status to publish July 4, 2024