SRI to Manage the Hat Creek Radio Observatory and Conduct Space Research Using the Allen Telescope Array | SRI International

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SRI to Manage the Hat Creek Radio Observatory and Conduct Space Research Using the Allen Telescope Array

Image: SETI

MENLO PARK, Calif.April 13, 2012 — SRI International is the new manager of the Hat Creek Radio Observatory (HCRO) facility in Northern California, home of the Allen Telescope Array.  SRI will assume site management responsibilities from the Radio Astronomy Laboratory at the University of California, Berkeley. 

"The Hat Creek Radio Observatory has a rich history of important scientific research about space and complex molecules," said Scott Seaton, vice president of SRI's Engineering Research & Development Division. "As SRI begins to manage Hat Creek, we look forward to expanding the use of the Allen Telescope Array to support the wider scientific and technical community in radio astronomy and space science."

SRI was also awarded a contract by the United States Air Force to conduct space situational awareness and detect space debris using the ATA. 

The ATA is a unique and flexible research instrument designed as a Large Number of Small Dishes (LNSD) array.  It is a 42-dish radio telescope that can operate in multiple frequency bands while its digital hardware runs scientific experiments, such as creating images of the sky.

It is located in a remote area that has relatively low levels of radio interference and is surrounded by volcanic mountains that keep out interferences such as television, radio and distant cellular phone transmissions.  The ATA was built by the SETI Institute and the University of California with major funding from the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation. The SETI Institute will continue to conduct research at the facilities.

SRI has extensive scientific research experience, including space and radar research. SRI has managed scientific facilities for decades, including dish radio telescope facilities for the National Science Foundation and government clients. In the early 1960s, SRI designed and built a 150-foot diameter radio reflector antenna for the U.S. Department of Defense. Known locally as "The Dish," it is located on land leased from Stanford University. Maintained by SRI since then, it's been used for projects such as satellite calibration, spacecraft command and telemetry, and radio astronomy measurements.

In 2011, SRI was awarded a five-year cooperative agreement by the National Science Foundation (NSF) to manage, operate and maintain the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico. The observatory, preeminent for its research in astronomy, planetary studies, and space and atmospheric sciences, is the world's largest and most sensitive single-dish radio telescope.

SRI also operates, manages, and conducts research at the Sondrestrom Research Facility in Greenland, at Poker Flat in Alaska, and at Resolute Bay in northern Canada, through various NSF co-operative agreements. SRI is also constructing additional high-power radars at Resolute Bay, in Argentina, and in other locations.

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