Site Visits

The Shanghai Astronomical Observatory and SKA Organisation have arranged site visits to the following facilities after the 2019 SKA Engineering Meeting: 

  • Tianma 65m Telescope - Friday 29th November

  • FAST 500m Telescope - Saturday 30th November

Unfortunately, it is not possible to participate in both visits due to departure times of flights from Shanghai.
Below are the corresponding details and itinerary plans for each visit. If you wish to attend the site visits, please express interest in your registration form and please be advised that there are additional costs that will be requested for the FAST site visit. The costs are detailed on the conference payment page.

Tianma Site Visit

The Tianma site visit will consist of visiting Tianma Telescope, VLBI Control Centre, and China SKA Regional Centre Prototype, which are all located at Sheshan campus of SHAO in Songjiang district of Shanghai.


  • 09:00-10:30:  From Wanda hotel to Sheshan site (40km, 1.5 hr via coaches)

  • 10:30-11:15:  Tianma 65m Telescope

  • 11:15-11:45:  VLBI Control Center

  • 11:45-12:30:  China SKA Regional Centre Prototype

  • 12:30-13:30:  Lunch at Canteen 

  • 13:30-15:00:  Back to hotel (40km, 1.5 hr via coaches) 

Background information:

Tianma 65m Telescope is a major cooperative project between the Chinese Academy of Sciences and Shanghai Municipality, which is jointly funded by the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shanghai Municipality, and Lunar Exploration project. It is the largest fully-steerable radio telescope in East Asia. The overall performance is ranked in the Top four among the same types of telescopes in the world. The telescope construction was started in October 2008 and completed in October 2012, lasting only four years. It has eight receiving systems covering the frequency range of 1.2 GHz - 50 GHz, with the highest pointing accuracy of 4 arcseconds, and the aperture efficiency of 50% at various elevations. As the main station, Tianma telescope has participated in the VLBI tracking of Lunar exploration satellite in the China VLBI Network, and successfully completed the Chang’E 2, 3, 4 aircraft’s tracking missions. In daily routine, Tianma telescope is carrying out astronomical observations of the spectral lines, pulsars and VLBI radio astronomical sources. It is also the high-sensitivity station of the European VLBI Network, and the East Asia VLBI Network. The annual operation time is up to 7000 hours, achieving the international first-class level.

 The VLBI Control Centre of SHAO, together with its data processing centre is the core for VLBI applications on space explorations, astrophysics and astrometry studies in China. This facility is responsible for establishing and operating the VLBI tracking system in Chinese Lunar Exploration Project (CLEP). In order to meet the requirements of engineering navigation, the 4-5 Chinese VLBI stations have been upgraded, the VLBI control centre in Shanghai was built, and the high speed data transfer from stations to the centre was established. Some important software tools such as eVLBI data transfer, dynamic scheduling, correlator model calculation, and correlator software have been developed. So far the VLBI tracking system has been successfully applied for 4 Chinese lunar missions including Chang’E-1 in 2007, Chang’E-2 in 2010, Chang’E-3 in 2013,Chang’E-5T1 in 2014, and Chang’E-4 in 2019 to have a soft landing on the far side of the Moon. In the future, the VLBI Control Centre will continue to serve for the VLBI tracking of several major national tasks including Chang’E-5 Moon exploration mission and deep space explorations such as the exploration of Mars.

China SKA Regional Centre Prototype was commenced to build since August 2018, under the financial support of the Ministry of Science and Technology of China, SKA China office, and Chinese Academy of Sciences. It started from a single workstation as a testing machine, installed with multi-core Intel Xeon Phi CPU processors and continually evolved into the current module consisting of six racks. The compute nodes include three different architectures: multi-core Intel X86 CPU, Nvidia GPU and ARM. In total it comprises ~3000 cores.  It was accommodated in the SKA Science Computing Lab in Sheshan campus of SHAO. The Prototype is also equipped with 2PB storage. It is worth mentioning that tied storage system is deployed: NVME SSD disk to support fast computing and frequent data reading and writing, and normal SATA disk to support long term archive. The Prototype is now been installed the software enabling to process the data from various SKA precursors, such as MWA and ASKAP. Users not only from China but also from international collaborative institutions get access to the Prototype to conduct science data analysis, software pipeline development, algorithm optimisation. The students from the 5th China SKA summer school (which was held in August 2019 at SHAO) used the Prototype to learn how to analyse radio transient data, such us searching for gravitational wave sources and fast radio bursts during the tutorial class. Now the Prototype is in  commissioning and will soon be open to the SKA community.


FAST Site Visit

The FAST site visit will consist of a 2-day trip with an overnight stay at the famous “Astronomy Town” in Guiyang on Friday 29th November, close to the FAST facility, with the tour of FAST itself taking place on Saturday 30th November in the morning. 

Those participating in the site visit will be required to book their own travel arrangements/flights to and from Guiyang Airport. All other logistical arrangements will be covered by your site visit payment. SKAO shall not be held responsible for any flight delays that might cause one’s onward flight to be missed. 

The following flights have been recommended for booking to fit in with the proposed itinerary further below for the site visit. Important note: we’ve been informed that flight times are sometimes slightly amended by the airline company so we’d encourage participants to confirm their exact flight schedule nearer the time.

Flight Options - Outbound to Guiyang

  • Option 1: 

          Shanghai Airport (SHA) to Guiyang Airport with China Eastern/Shanghai Airlines 

          Flight No: #9457

          Friday 29th November

          12:10 - 15:10

  • Option 2: 

          Shanghai Airport (PVG) to Guiyang Airport with China Southern Airlines 

          Flight No: #3652

          Friday 29th November

          11:35 - 14:40

Additionally there are two flights operated by Juneyao Airlines that fly into Guiyang:

  • Option 3: 

          Shanghai Airport (PVG) to Guiyang Airport with Juneyao Airline 

          Flight No: #1207

          Friday 29th November

          08:00 - 11:15

  • Option 4: 

          Shanghai Airport (SHA) to Guiyang Airport with Juneyao Airline 

          Flight No: #1209

          Friday 29th November

          11:00 - 14:00


Flight Options - Inbound to Shanghai

Below are flight options from Guiyang Airport back to Shanghai on Saturday 30th November. Participants to the site visit may wish to fly to another destination though so if the case, those people should make sure their flight isn’t scheduled for departure before 16:00, otherwise they might run the risk to miss their flight.

  • Option 1: 

          Guiyang Airport to Shanghai Airport (SHA) with China Easter/Shanghai Airlines

          Flight No: #9458

          Saturday 30th November

          16:10 - 18:30

  • Option 2: 

          Guiyang Airport to Shanghai Airport (PVG) (Air China) 

          Flight No: #4563

          Saturday 30th November

          17:05 - 19:45

  • Option 3: 

          Guiyang Airport to Shanghai Airport (PVG) (Shanghai Airlines)

          Flight No: #5446

          Saturday 30th November

          20:55 - 23:10

  • Option 4: 

          Guiyang Airport to Shanghai Airport (PVG) (Juneyao Airline)

          Flight No: #1042

          Saturday 30th November

          22:30 - 00:55


FAST Site Visit - Itinerary

Friday 29th November

Designated buses will be available to all participants attending the FAST site visit, which will be waiting at Guiyang airport at various times to take everyone to the hotel in Astronomy Town. These timings (which will be shared in due course) will be based off the 4 flights arriving into Guiyang from Shanghai on Friday 29th November, and so will take into consideration those who have to go through any security checks along with baggage collection. To better help coordinate which bus you should take, please let the EOC know your flight details at the following email:

Saturday 30th November

Please be aware that the below timetable may be subject to change. Any changes will be communicated to the participant via email from the EOC and should not affect participant’s arrival time at the Guiyang airport (unless exceptional and unforeseen circumstances outside of our control). We would also like to remind people that the FAST site is a radio-quiet zone, and you will be asked to turn off all mobile phones during the duration of the visit. 

Time                            Content

07:30 - 08:30               Welcome Breakfast and Check-Out

08:30 - 09:00               From hotel go to FAST via bus

09:00 - 09:40               Watch FAST construction video followed by Keynote Speech

09:40 - 09:50               Group Photo

09:50 - 11:15               Visit FAST

11:15 - 14:30               Travel to Guiyang Airport via bus (food provided on route)

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