A DECADE after a bushfire destroyed buildings on Mt Stromlo, the green shoots of long-term technological innovation are sprouting, but there are some growing pains.
Within three years the numbers of people working on the historic Canberra site has doubled to 150 and a number of these scientists are helping to build the world's biggest telescope, which will soon be erected in Chile.
Canberra-based scientists are helping to build the spectrograph - the best description of this is that it takes fingerprints of light - for the behemoth telescope about to be built in the Chilean mountains, which will measure 25 metres in diameter.
PhD student Tammy Roderick said she was excited to be working at the same site where cutting- edge techniques were being used.
''There's a big sense of community here,'' she said.
There are up to 60 astronomers and research scientists at Mt Stromlo, plus 30 or so students, 20 engineers, 10 computer engineers and support staff.
The problem is some of the facilities are not keeping up with the popularity of the site.
''It's getting pretty tight,'' said astronomer Brad Tucker, who flew out to the United States on Friday with a proposal for NASA to find a new use for its $550 million Kepler telescope.
Mt Stromlo appears to be a few buildings short.
The telescope destroyed by fire in 2003 has been rebuilt but was on show, rather than being used, because there is no building to house it, according to Dr Tucker.
''We can't come up with money out of our running budget,'' he said.
Dr Tucker said the Australian National University was talking to the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum about building a space museum at the site.
''Every party except the Australian government has entered into a contract - it really became stagnant, which is a bit disappointing,'' he said.
The owner of the Scope cafe at Mt Stromlo, Simone Hunter, said business on the mount was better than ever but federal government facilities had not been upgraded.
''We desperately want to grow the business but the infrastructure is not enough to meet demand,'' she said. ''We're hoping to attract federal funding.''
More than 8000 people visited Mt Stromlo over six of the most recent open nights but she was still using a temporary, demountable kitchen and working out of the old visitors centre building.
Ms Hunter has considered crowdfunding but will wait to determine whether her lobbying for funds is successful.
About $400,000 would be needed to upgrade the cafe, which is a public asset.