The Square Kilometre Array (“SKA”) is the world's largest synthetic aperture radio telescope project to be built with an expected life of 50 years. The international mega-science project, which is intended to be implemented through the establishment of an international inter-governmental organization, is committed to answering some basic questions about the universe and will provide great opportunities for mankind to explore and understand the universe.
To ensure long-term stable operation of the SKA, governments of various countries hope to set up an international intergovernmental organization for SKA. To this end, SKA member states have agreed on the first-tier SKA documents, including the observatory convention, after more than two years of inter-governmental negotiations. Since May 2018, the observatory convention has been officially opened for initialling to all member states in Italy. On July 12 of local time in Italy, Chinese Ambassador to Italy Li Ruiyu signed the first-tier documents of the SKA on behalf of the Chinese government. The initialling of the observatory convention marks a milestone in the transformation of the SKA into an international inter-governmental organization and provides a legal basis and policy guarantee for the smooth construction and operation of the SKA in the future.
So far, six countries, including China, Australia, South Africa, Britain, Italy and Sweden, have initialled the Convention on Establishing the Square Kilometre Array Observatory.