African VLBI Network Training Site


Invited Talk: Friday 31 May 2019 - Mr Daniel Hayden


31 May 2019 14:15 - 15:15

Title: System Engineering at SKAO

Author: Mr Daniel Hayden
              System engineer for SKA1 Low Telescope
              SKA Organisation
              Jodrell Bank Observatory

The Square Kilometre Array (SKA), when built, will be the largest scientific facility in the world. Phase 1 of the SKA will consist of two radio telescopes, one in South Africa made up of 197 dishes, and one in Australia made up of 130 000 antennas. These will consist of millions of parts and are being designed by thousands of engineers in numerous different locations and environments. How then do we ensure that all the jigsaw pieces will come together properly, to a very high degree of precision, and that the telescopes that emerge will enable the science that we expect? This is the role of systems engineering, and this talk will give a flavour of some day-to-day system engineering activities in the SKA project.

More about the author:

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Born in Johannesburg, I decided I wanted to study astronomy after volunteering at the Johannesburg Planetarium as part of a group called the 'Astro Hit Squad'. After high school I took a year off during which I did a brief internship at the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) office in Johannesburg, at the time they were putting together the bid to host the SKA in South Africa. Despite almost getting derailed from my objective and studying medicine instead, I moved to Cape Town to study physics at the University Of Cape Town and then an Honours in astronomy at UNISA. I then changed track somewhat and did a Masters in space science and engineering in Europe through an Erasmus Mundus programme. Midway through this programme I went back to SKA South Africa to do an internship at their Cape Town office, on the subject of atmospheric calibration. This very almost tempted me to do a PhD in a similar subject, but I decided instead to take up a job at the SKA headquarters in England. Currently I am working as the system engineer for the SKA1 Low telescope, which is the low frequency array that will be built in the Australian desert (while the mid frequency array will be built in SA in the Karoo). I live close to hills, dry stone walls and many sheep, and I can see a 70m radio telescope from the window where I work.