SPIDER 300A installed in South African Astronomical Observatory headquarters in Cape Town
The 3 meter radio telescope is controlled remotely by the University of Cape Town thanks to the Networking Module for RadioUniversePRO software: it allows work out plenty of radio astronomy programs for education. Radio2Space team completed the installation and recorded the first light!
The SPIDER 300A radio telescope has been shipped to the South African Astronomical Observatory headquarters in two crates designed for safe shipment of the instrument. The radio telescope is going to be installed on a special foundation that has been built following the drawings provided by Radio2Space.
The large pier has been fixed on the foundation with 4 threaded bars and it has been perfectly leveled. Then, by using a proper lifting tool, the giant WP-100 mount has been installed on the pier. The mount weight is 200 Kg to offer great stability, a high tracking and pointing precision, low wind sensitivity with a high (100 kg) load capacity.
Also the 3 meter diameter antenna of the SPIDER 300A radio telescope that we shipped to the South African Astronomical Observatory comes preinstalled so the assembly is pretty straightforward. The antenna comes with its 1420 MHz optimized feed horn supports and 4 rear supports for installation on the mount with the maximum rigidity
The entire antenna is made up of aluminum and it’s really lightweight: this way it can be easily lifted on top of the mount head by 4 persons without the need of any other machine. The antenna is fixed on the mount upper plate with 10 M10 high resistance bolts for a perfectly stable mechanical support.
Radio2Space team completed the installation of all the power and data cables that connect the SPIDER 300A external unit (antenna and mount) to the control room where receiver, power units and control computer are installed. The cables run in a dedicated duct and are protected in the center of the large radio telescope pier.
In the control room, Radio2Space team installed in a 19″ rack the H142-One radio astronomy receiver, the radio telescope control and power unit, the control computer with RadioUniversePRO software, and the control and power unit that controls Ultrasonic Wind Sensor that parks SPIDER 300A in stow position when the wind exceed 50 km/h.
Finally, the LNA units (the SPIDER 300A has 2 LNAs, one for the left and one for the right circular polarizations) and the NSgen noise generator for absolute calibration are connected to the 1420 MHz optimized feed horn. All the cables have been fixed to the front and rear supports of the antenna to have a perfect cable management.
The SPIDER 300A radio telescope is now ready and, also if we had got a very windy day in Cape Town (quite a normal condition in this part of South Africa!) we recorded the first light of the radio telescope with a radio map of the Sun. The radio telescope is now ready for the University of Cape Town to develop their radio astronomy educational program!