The Advanced Instrumentation Technology Centre (AITC) opened in 2006 at Mount Stromlo Observatory, on the edge of Canberra, Australia’s capital. Established in 1924, the observatory is one of Canberra’s oldest institutions. It became part of the Australian National University in 1957 and has been managed by the Research School of Astronomy and Astrophysics since 1986.
On 18 January 2003, a devastating firestorm destroyed the telescopes, the library, and the workshops on Mount Stromlo. Like a phoenix rising from the ashes, construction of the world-class AITC began in 2004, funded by insurance compensation, plus investment by the ANU and the Australian Government. The first phase of construction cost AUD25million. An expansion costing AUD30million was completed in 2014.
The AITC continues the observatory’s long tradition of creating cutting-edge instrumentation for astronomy, and working with industry to commercialise research outcomes. In addition, the AITC significantly expands Australia’s capabilities in research and development for the space industry.