Apart from a brief Cassegrain run in the summer of 2011, UKIRT has been
operated in WFCAM-only mode since January 2009 and remotely from Hilo
since December 2010. UKIRT operations are now in the process of being
handed over to the University of Arizona who are interested in
recommissioning at least some of the Cassegrain instruments. While at the
time of this writing the work is mostly still in the planning stage it is
actively being thought about, and some of the infrastructure is being put
(back) into place.
The steady improvement in telescope performance at UKIRT and the increase in data acquisition rates led to a strong desired for an integrated observing framework that would meet the needs of future instrumentation, as well as providing some support for existing instrumentation. Thus the Observatory Reduction and Acquisition Control (ORAC) project was created in 1997 with the goals of improving the scientific productivity in the telescope, reducing the overall ongoing support requirements, and eventually supporting the use of more flexibly scheduled observing. The project was also expected to achieve this within a tight resource allocation. In October 1999 the ORAC system was commissioned at the United Kingdom Infrared Telescope.