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7 August 2014 Highly automated on-orbit operations of the NuSTAR telescope
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UC Berkeley's Space Sciences Laboratory (SSL) currently operates a fleet of seven NASA satellites, which conduct research in the fields of space physics and astronomy. The newest addition to this fleet is a high-energy X-ray telescope called the Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array (NuSTAR). Since 2012, SSL has conducted on-orbit operations for NuSTAR on behalf of the lead institution, principle investigator, and Science Operations Center at the California Institute of Technology. NuSTAR operations benefit from a truly multi-mission ground system architecture design focused on automation and autonomy that has been honed by over a decade of continual improvement and ground network expansion. This architecture has made flight operations possible with nominal 40 hours per week staffing, while not compromising mission safety. The remote NuSTAR Science Operation Center (SOC) and Mission Operations Center (MOC) are joined by a two-way electronic interface that allows the SOC to submit automatically validated telescope pointing requests, and also to receive raw data products that are automatically produced after downlink. Command loads are built and uploaded weekly, and a web-based timeline allows both the SOC and MOC to monitor the state of currently scheduled spacecraft activities. Network routing and the command and control system are fully automated by MOC's central scheduling system. A closed-loop data accounting system automatically detects and retransmits data gaps. All passes are monitored by two independent paging systems, which alert staff of pass support problems or anomalous telemetry. NuSTAR mission operations now require less than one attended pass support per workday.
© (2014) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.
Bryce Roberts, Manfred Bester, Renee Dumlao, Marty Eckert, Sam Johnson, Mark Lewis, John McDonald, Deron Pease, Greg Picard, and Jeremy Thorsness "Highly automated on-orbit operations of the NuSTAR telescope", Proc. SPIE 9149, Observatory Operations: Strategies, Processes, and Systems V, 91490T (7 August 2014);


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