19 July 2010 Design of modular C++ observatory control system: from observatories to laboratories and back
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Abstract
For almost a decade we have been developing an open source control system for autonomous observatories called Remote Telescope System, 2nd version - RTS2. The system is currently used to operate about dozen observatories. It was designed from the beginning as the ultimate tool for autonomously performing any possible observing plan on any hardware. Its modular design allows exactly this and enables even more. Currently it is used to control not only observatories but also CCD testing laboratories. We present the internal design of this open source observatory and laboratory control package, and discuss its overall structure. We emphasise new developments and our experiences building a community of users and developers of the package. Design of the system modularity is explained in detail, and various approaches to software reuse are discussed, with a demonstration of how the best solution emerged. We describe problems that were encountered as mirror sizes and associated operational complexity grew. We also describe how the system is being used at a CCD testing laboratory, and detail the quick transition from previously unsupported hardware to fully automated operation. We discuss how the system's evolution has affected code design, and present unexpected benefits it is brought. Our experience with use of open source code and libraries are discussed.
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Petr Kubánek, Michael Prouza, Ronan Cunniffe, Markus Wildi, Jan Štrobl, Ivan Kotov, Paul O'Connor, Martin Jelínek, Antonio de Ugarte Postigo, "Design of modular C++ observatory control system: from observatories to laboratories and back", Proc. SPIE 7740, Software and Cyberinfrastructure for Astronomy, 77401V (19 July 2010); doi: 10.1117/12.857258; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.857258
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