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NSF awards $42M contract to new Arecibo Observatory operator


Arecibo Observatory

The National Science Foundation has granted California-based SRI International a $42 million contract to manage the Arecibo Observatory for the next five years starting Oct. 1, it was announced Thursday.

“SRI and its partners bring extensive experience in facility management, space science, radio astronomy and a wide range of high-power radar techniques, as well as expertise in university partnerships and community relations. Together, we will support and, more importantly, expand the observatory’s cutting-edge science programs,” said John Kelly, Ph.D., senior director of the Center for GeoSpace Studies at SRI. “We will use our combined expertise to allow the observatory to become an ever greater resource to the astronomy, planetary science, and space science communities.”

SRI and its on-site partners—the Universities Space Research Association (USRA), the Universidad Metropolitana (UMET) in San Juan, Puerto Rico, and the University of Puerto Rico (UPR)—will work together under the leadership of Robert Kerr, Ph.D., SRI’s director designate of the Arecibo Observatory, to forge a new future for the observatory, which is the world’s largest and most sensitive single-dish radio telescope.

To advance research and education at the observatory, SRI and its partners are working with multiple local government agencies and private organizations to ensure close collaboration with educational and economic development institutions in Puerto Rico.

“This development is a turning point in the future of the observatory where we will create and expand Puerto Rican and international educational opportunities in ways that were never before possible,” said UMET’s Vice President for Planning and Academic Affairs, Juan Arratia.

Author Details
Author Details
Business reporter with 27 years of experience writing for weekly and daily newspapers, as well as trade publications in Puerto Rico. My list of former employers includes Caribbean Business, The San Juan Star, and the Puerto Rico Daily Sun, among others. My areas of expertise include telecommunications, technology, retail, agriculture, tourism, banking and most other segments of Puerto Rico’s economy.


  1. Víctor Román June 5, 2011

    Gracias por presentar en tu Blog tan interesante noticia.

    Es importante de que en las facilidades del Observatorio de Arecibo se continúen realizando estudios de una gran diversidad de objetos astronómicos por eso de conocer más de las maravillas del universo. La extraordinaria sensibilidad que se logra mediante los equipos electrónicos junto a los programas computadorizados, el personal cualificado y estudiantes que realizan investigaciones además de las personas que realizan el mantenimiento operacional hace que el lugar tenga la capacidad necesaria para realizar grandes descubrimientos y sirva de apoyo a otros centros de investigación.

    Me alegro mucho de que SRI junto a sus socios aseguren la colaboración con instituciones de desarrollo económico y educativo (UMET y UPR) en Puerto Rico.

    Incluso las facilidades físicas generales del Radio Observatorio y los estudios que se realizan en el lugar sirven de motivación a los estudiantes de diversos grados académicos que lo visitan junto a sus maestros y profesores a estudiar astronomía y ciencias afines. La operación del Radio Observatorio influye también positivamente en el turismo del área por la importancia que tiene el lugar a nivel mundial.

    Le deseo mucho éxito a todo el personal local y a Stanford Research Institute al operar el Radio Telescopio por los próximos cinco años.

    Víctor Román Cordero
    Bachillerato en Tecnología en Ingeniería Electrónica
    Vice Presidente Sociedad de Astronomía de Puerto Rico Inc.

    1. mkantrow June 8, 2011

      Gracias! 😉

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