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Officials to build STEM education center at decommissioned radio telescope site in Puerto Rico

PUERTO RICO — The Arecibo Radio Telescope was previously managed by the University of Central Florida.

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It has been nearly three years since a section of the observatory in Puerto Rico came crashing down.

It was once the most powerful single-dish radio telescope in the world.

Some may even recognize the location from movies like “Contact” and “GoldenEye.”

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Now officials are planning a new future for the site.

The Arecibo Observatory was once massive and magnificent.

In 1974, the telescope sent out the strongest signal ever into space showcasing humanity’s technical advancement.

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For more than five decades, the iconic telescope was pivotal in significant space breakthroughs.

In 2018, UCF partnered with Universidad Metropolitana in San Juan and Yang Enterprises in Oviedo to manage Arecibo, all in an effort to expand the capabilities of the telescope.

However, officials said that over time, environmental and funding issues became evident.

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In August of 2020, an auxiliary cable broke. Then another cable snapped in November 2020.

A few days later the United States National Science Foundation announced plans to decommission the telescope. Then on Dec. 1, it came crumbling down.

Now almost 3 years later, the NSF just announced over $5 million in funding to create a new STEM education and research center at the Arecibo Observatory site.

See more in the video above.

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