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Arecibo Observatory

USRA is part of a team that brings over 100 years of combined science operations and management expertise to the Arecibo Observatory.

Arecibo Observatory, Puerto Rico, hosts the world's largest single-dish telescope. A spherical reflector 1000 feet in diameter carpets the floor of a valley, collecting radio waves from the sky and focusing them onto receivers suspended 435 feet above the dish. Beyond its unusual design and unmatched sensitivity, the facility is unique in supporting a multi-disciplinary mission: Arecibo enables world-class radio astronomy, studies of the Earth's atmosphere, and radar observations of Solar System bodies. A large fraction of the science activities at Arecibo are also now part of USRA's newest program.

USRA joined SRI International (based in Menlo Park, CA) and the Universidad Metropolitana (San Juan, PR) to form the Arecibo Management Partners (AMP), who together submitted the winning proposal. Following a four-month transition period, AMP took over operations from the incumbent on October 1, 2011, through a 5-year cooperative agreement with NSF. USRA's role in the team led by SRI is to manage the observatory's astronomy and planetary radar programs, as well as to provide electrical engineering and scientific computing expertise. Additional support for the Observatory will be provided by NASA, to further radar studies of asteroids and comets that pose a potential threat to Earth, and to study our neighboring planets and their moons.

USRA's vision for Arecibo builds on the strong scientific foundation laid down during its nearly 50-year history. Guided by the research and education priorities of the Observatory's many supporters and stakeholders, as well as the broader community, USRA and its partners will grow Arecibo Observatory's scientific capabilities, increase its accessibility to an expanded user base, and deliver its exciting story to a broad audience.