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China completes its prototype dish for the SKA


The completed DVA-C antenna with CETC54’s SKA team and Phil Diamond, Director General of the SKA Organisation

On 18 August 2014, Professor Philip Diamond, Director General of the SKA Organisation, accompanied by Mrs. Zhao Jing from the SKA China Office of the Chinese Ministry of Science and Technology visited the 54th Research Institute of China Electronics Technology Group Corporation (CETC54) in Shijiazhuang, about 300km south west of Beijing. Professor Diamond, hosted by Mr. Wang Feng, President of the company specialising in antenna construction, was able to see a complete prototype SKA antenna and hold discussions with the CETC54 SKA team.

“The CETC54 crew had worked night and day for weeks to complete the antenna for my visit, and I was personally overwhelmed that they had worked so hard and completely impressed by what they had achieved”, reported Phil Diamond after the visit.

CETC54, on behalf of the Joint Laboratory for Radio Astronomy Technology (JLRAT), the Chinese member of the SKA DISH consortium, is doing the manufacturing and installation of the Dish Verification Antenna China (DVA-C), one of the three prototype antennas being built as part of the SKA Design phase.

DVA-C, along with two other designs, one Canadian and one South African, are being considered by the DISH consortium to develop the final SKA dish prototype.

“Manufacturing of DVA-C started in late 2013 and it was a challenge both in terms of technology and fabrication to complete it in only eight months,” said Mr. Wang Feng.

The DVA-C verification test will be completed in December 2014. The experience in building DVA-C and the tests conducted on it will benefit the SKA to design the final SKA dish prototype. The Chinese antenna is an offset Gregorian dual reflector. The main and sub reflectors were made of Carbon Fiber Reinforced Polymers (CFRP), based on single piece panel and surface metallizing technology. The main reflector size is 18m × 15m, the sub reflector size is 5m × 4.7m.