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Paper: Tools for Coordinating Planning Between Observatories
Volume: 238, Astronomical Data Analysis Software and Systems X
Page: 44
Authors: Jones, J.; Maks, L.; Fishman, M.; Grella, V.; Kerbel, U.; Misra, D.; Pell, V.
Abstract: With the realization of NASA's era of great observatories, there are now more than three space-based telescopes operating in different wave bands. This situation provides astronomers with a unique opportunity to simultaneously observe with multiple observatories. Yet scheduling multiple observatories simultaneously is highly inefficient when compared to observations using only a single observatory. Thus, programs using multiple observatories are limited not by scientific restrictions, but by operational inefficiencies. At present, multi-observatory programs are initiated by submitting observing proposals separately to each concerned observatory. To assure that the proposed observations can be scheduled, each observatory's staff has to check that the observations are valid and meet all constraints for their own observatory; in addition, they have to verify that the observations satisfy the constraints of the other observatories. Thus, coordinated observations require painstaking manual collaboration among staffs at each observatory. Due to the lack of automated tools for coordinated observations, this process is time consuming and error-prone, and the outcome of requests is not certain until the very end. To increase multi-observatory operations efficiency, such resource intensive processes need to be re-engineered. To overcome this critical deficiency, Goddard Space Flight Center's Advanced Architectures and Automation Branch is developing a prototype called the Visual Observation Layout Tool (VOLT). The main objective of VOLT is to provide visual tools to help automate the planning of coordinated observations by multiple astronomical observatories, as well as to increase the probability of scheduling all observations.
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