22 July 2014 An innovative telescope control system architecture for SST-GATE telescopes at the CTA Observatory
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Abstract
SST-GATE (Small Size Telescope - GAmma-ray Telescope Elements) is a 4-metre telescope designed as a prototype for the Small Size Telescopes (SST) of the Cherenkov Telescope Array (CTA), a major facility for the very high energy gamma-ray astronomy of the next three decades. In this 100-telescope array there will be 70 SSTs, involving a design with an industrial view aiming at long-term service, low maintenance effort and reduced costs. More than a prototype, SST-GATE is also a fully functional telescope that shall be usable by scientists and students at the Observatoire de Meudon for 30 years. The Telescope Control System (TCS) is designed to work either as an element of a large array driven by an array controller or in a stand-alone mode with a remote workstation. Hence it is built to be autonomous with versatile interfacing; as an example, pointing and tracking —the main functions of the telescope— are managed onboard, including astronomical transformations, geometrical transformations (e.g. telescope bending model) and drive control. The core hardware is a CompactRIO (cRIO) featuring a real-time operating system and an FPGA. In this paper, we present an overview of the current status of the TCS. We especially focus on three items: the pointing computation implemented in the FPGA of the cRIO —using CORDIC algorithms— since it enables an optimisation of the hardware resources; data flow management based on OPCUA with its specific implementation on the cRIO; and the use of an EtherCAT field-bus for its ability to provide real-time data exchanges with the sensors and actuators distributed throughout the telescope.
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Gilles Fasola, Gilles Fasola, Shan Mignot, Shan Mignot, Philippe Laporte, Philippe Laporte, Abdel Abchiche, Abdel Abchiche, Gilles Buchholtz, Gilles Buchholtz, Isabelle Jégouzo, Isabelle Jégouzo, } "An innovative telescope control system architecture for SST-GATE telescopes at the CTA Observatory", Proc. SPIE 9145, Ground-based and Airborne Telescopes V, 914551 (22 July 2014); doi: 10.1117/12.2054478; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2054478
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