Beijing: Design for the first phase of the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) project has been completed, bringing the world's largest radio telescope project one step closer to completion, according to the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS).
SKA's first phase, encompassing two complementary world-class telescopes in Australia and South Africa, will cost 650 million euros ($700 million), state-run Xinhua news agency reported.
Construction is due to start in 2018, with initial observations in 2020, said a statement released on Tuesday by the CAS National Astronomical Observatories.
The telescope arrays, designed to monitor and map the sky in unprecedented detail and speed, aim to improve understanding of the universe and the laws of fundamental physics.
The project is currently supported by 11 countries, including Australia, Canada, China, Germany, India, Italy, New Zealand, South Africa, Sweden, the Netherlands and Britain. More than 100 companies and institutions in 20 countries are involved in research and development.
The CAS, China Electronics Technology Group and many Chinese universities have a role in research and development for the project.