Rutgers, South Africa Join on New Telescope
NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J., Oct 14 -- Rutgers University announced it would participate in the South African Large Telescope (SALT) project to create the world's second-largest telescope. The university has committed to a 10 percent partnership by pledging $3.4 million; $2.4 million towards construction costs plus an additional $1 million toward operations for the first 10 years. The university plans to contribute $2.2 million directly, while the Rutgers University Foundation will work to raise funds for the balance. The SALT project is expected to cost approximately $22 million for construction and $8 million for the first decade's operations.
Rutgers was the first partner to come into SALT, said Bob Stobie, director of the South African Astronomical Observatory and chairman of the SALT board. Stobie expects groundbreaking for SALT to take place in March or April 2000; construction is scheduled to be completed within five years. While the South African government will underwrite half of the costs of the project, the remaining funds are to be contributed by international government and university partners in return for observation time on SALT.
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