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Steel Structure of China Sky Eye

“China Sky Eye” FAST, the full name is “500-meter Aperture Spherical Radio Telescope”, is the world’s largest single-aperture and most sensitive radio telescope. This is a magical “big pot” located in Guizhou, China. Its basic principle is similar to that of the common pot-type satellite antenna. It uses the paraboloid of the “pot” to reflect signals, and focuses the signals through the reflection of the “pot”. , in order to receive the signal with the “antenna”. The bigger the “pot” is, the more weak electromagnetic waves it can receive, and the better our “vision” in observing the universe will be.

How big is China’s Sky Eye?

With a diameter of 500 meters, more than 10,000 tons of steel are used in the ring beams, cable nets and six towers supporting the feed cabin;

The total area of reflective panels is 250,000 square meters, equivalent to 30 standard football fields, and more than 2,000 tons of aluminum alloy are used;

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If the “China Sky Eye” is filled with water, each person in the world can get 2 liters…

Steel Structure of China Sky Eye

1. The Sky Eye Cable Net is different from the traditional cable net. The Sky Eye Cable Net is used for deformation, so its fatigue performance requirements are very high, reaching more than twice the traditional specifications. It can be seen that the construction of the Sky Eye is very difficult. After nearly a hundred failures and two years of comprehensive improvements in various processes of the cable net: anchoring process, twisting process, coating process, etc., a qualified steel cable structure was developed.

2. Such a huge steel structure building makes the whole process of design, manufacturing and installation full of huge challenges. Every step is like a strictly pushed formula, and there can be no mistakes.

Such a large engineering system is being carried out in mountainous areas with extremely harsh conditions. Many large-scale equipment cannot enter the site at all, which brings great difficulties to the construction. Therefore, the construction of the Sky Eye can only use the most primitive construction method of manually dug piles. The deepest manually dug piles are 38 meters deep. It will be difficult to breathe underneath, which shows how dangerous it is.

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More than 10,000 steel cables and more than 2,000 interfaces need to be assembled one by one in the air. Moreover, each cable has a different size, with thousands of lengths, thicknesses and specifications. If one cable is installed incorrectly, the entire structure will not be formed. Such a huge project requires precise installation.

FAST is completely exposed to the wild environment. It is rainy and foggy in Guizhou. All measurement and control systems must be able to adapt to various climate changes. The huge engineering volume, ultra-high precision requirements and special working methods have brought great challenges.

The world’s largest and most sensitive “China Sky Eye” has stimulated many special technical needs, requiring Chinese scientists to give full play to their subjective initiative and creativity, constantly “challenging cognitive and technical limits”, and constantly “discovering and solving problems” “Optimize and upgrade.

The completion of the China Sky Eye is undoubtedly another miracle and breakthrough in steel structure construction, and it is also a progress and breakthrough in Chinese astronomy. The sensitivity of FAST puts Chinese astronomers at the forefront of human vision. FAST not only represents the ambition of scientists in the field of radio astronomy, but also an effort for China’s astrophysics and astronomy science to move from catching up to surpassing. Chinese scientists’ continuous exploration and efforts, and continuous innovation have created China’s Sky Eye. The steel structure makes the scientists’ innovation a reality!

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