The UK team consists of six universities who are all heavily involved in radio astronomy as well as an industrial partner. The team is based around the collaboration that is currently involved in the dish conversion project at Goonhilly Earth Station (GES) in Cornwall, and is therefore already familiar with some of the challenges and opportunities of using ex-telecommunication dishes for radio astronomy. The Goonhilly project is public-private partnership where academics work together with entrepreneurs in the SME GES Ltd., and therefore is a clear demonstration of the potential impact of radio astronomy. GES Ltd are running a satellite communications business on the Goonhilly site and are exploring other commercial opportunities in deep space communications, data centres and a science park for visitors. Our collaboration brings the combination of academic and industrial experience to the African centres. Of course, our team also has vast experience of radio astronomy and interferometry in particular. Many have interests or collaborations with Africa and especially South Africa teams involved in the run up to the MeerKAT and Square Kilometre Array telescopes. This gives rise to the great commitment of this team to devote their time to using radio astronomy for the purposes of helping development in Africa.
South African Partners
The South African team is lead by Carla Sharpe at SARAO via the Hartebeesthoek Radio Astronomy Observatory (HartRAO) where the current VLBI capability in South Africa is centred. There is also significant input from the AVN team based at SKA-SA. Other members are from universities that have leading radio astronomy research groups, many of whom have some collaborative links with the UK team. The members of the South African team are as follows:
There are seven AVN countries that host the basic training programme: Botswana, Ghana, Kenya, Madagascar, Mozambique, Namibia, and Zambia. In 2018 the remaining AVN country, Mauritius, will join the project and host MPhil students as part of the advanced training programme.