The SKA Project is now well into the pre-construction phase with 11 Consortia carrying out design work to enable the project to complete the Critical Design Reviews and prepare the Construction Proposal in 2018. These consortia are spread across the globe and are constituted from a variety of institutes and commercial companies. The consortia have all have been through their Preliminary Design Reviews and are working towards their Critical Design Reviews (CDR) within cost-capped budgets. The output of these CDRs will act as the basis for the Construction Plan and Proposal.
The 2016 SKA Engineering Meeting will provide a global overview of the status, progress and way forward for the project in terms of science, governance, engineering and management. The aim of the meeting is to ensure that the project is clearly focused on the issues related with Construction and ensure these are identified and that ownership is clear. Part of the meeting will be devoted to Consortia presentations on the status of design and progress in each of the work-packages, which will include the status of their progress towards Construction. The Consortia will present their composition and approach, along with issues and options for further cost management.
As part of the conference we plan to run a series of workshops dealing with specific issues; including interfaces, construction planning and safety. In addition, the Chairs of the Science Working groups will be invited and so there will be time to discuss key issues of interest to both science and engineering. We also plan to include slots in the programme for the consortia to spend time interacting together, so arrangements will be made to allow consortia or groups to book meeting time. Finally, on the Thursday 6 October, time is set aside for all consortia to hold a face-to-face meeting.
The meeting will furthermore provide a forum for consortia to work the many common issues such as interface definitions in work sessions to allow closure of issues towards CDR activities. Naturally, there will be general face-to-face discussions among SKA Office staff, members of the SKA Element Consortia, the Telescope Teams and other members of the science and engineering community.
Finally, SKA South Africa are arranging a visit to the Karoo to visit MeerKAT construction and other facilities prior to the start of the Engineering Meeting, on Saturday 1 October. Arrangements and costs will be added to the website soon. The planning is to fly in and out from Cape Town on the same day.
The main meetings will be held from Sunday 2 October to Wednesday 5 October, and the Consortia meetings will be held on Thursday 6 October. Meetings will take place at the Spier 1692 Conference Centre, Stellenbosch, South Africa. It is open to all members of the Consortia and SKA science and engineering community working as part of the pre-construction phase of the project.