The international Square Kilometre Array (SKA) project to build two radio interferometers is approaching the end of its design phase, and gearing up for the beginning of formal construction. A key part of this distributed Observatory is the overall software control system: the Telescope Manager (TM). The two telescopes, a Low frequency dipole array to be located in Western Australia (SKA-Low) and a Mid-frequency dish array to be located in South Africa (SKA-Mid) will be operated as a single Observatory, with its global headquarters (GHQ) based in the United Kingdom at Jodrell Bank. When complete it will be the most powerful radio observatory in the world. The TM software must combine the observatory operations based at the GHQ with the monitor and control operations of each telescope, covering the range of domains from proposal submission to the coordination and monitoring of the subsystems that make up each telescope. It must also monitor itself and provide a reliable operating platform. This paper will provide an update on the design status of TM, covering the make-up of the consortium delivering the design, a brief description of the key challenges and the top level architecture, and its software development plans for tackling the construction phase of the project. It will also briefly describe the consortium’s response to the SKA Project’s decision in the second half of 2016 to adopt the processes set out by the Software Engineering Institute (SEI) for system architecture design and documentation, including a re-evaluation of its deliverables, documentation and approach to internal reviews.
Many large projects including major astronomy projects are adopting a Model Based Systems Engineering approach. How far is it possible to get value for the effort involved in developing a model that accurately represents a significant project such as SKA? Is it possible for such a large project to ensure that high-level requirements are traceable through the various system-engineering artifacts? Is it possible to utilize the tools available to produce meaningful measures for the impact of change?
This paper shares one aspect of the experience gained on the SKA project. It explores some of the recommended and pragmatic approaches developed, to get the maximum value from the modeling activity while designing the Telescope Manager for the SKA. While it is too early to provide specific measures of success, certain areas are proving to be the most helpful and offering significant potential over the lifetime of the project.
The experience described here has been on the 'Cameo Systems Modeler' tool-set, supporting a SysML based System Engineering approach; however the concepts and ideas covered would potentially be of value to any large project considering a Model based approach to their Systems Engineering.
The SKA radio telescope project is building two telescopes, SKA-Low in Australia and SKA-Mid in South Africa respectively. The Telescope Manager is responsible for the observations lifecycle and for monitoring and control of each instrument, and is being developed by an international consortium. The project is currently in the design phase, with the Preliminary Design Review having been successfully completed, along with re-baselining to match project scope to available budget. This report presents the status of the Telescope Manager work, key architectural challenges and our approach to addressing them.
The Square Kilometre Array (SKA) will be the world's most advanced radio telescope, designed to explore some of the biggest questions in astronomy today, such as the epoch of re-ionization, the nature of gravity and the origins of cosmic magnetism. SKA1, the first phase of SKA construction, is currently being designed by a large team of experts world-wide. SKA1 comprises two telescopes: a 200-element dish interferometer in South Africa and a 130000-element dipole antenna aperture array in Australia. To enable the ground-breaking science of the SKA an advanced Observation Management system is required to support both the needs of the astronomical community users and the SKA Observatory staff. This system will ensure that the SKA realises its scientiffc aims and achieves optimal scientific throughput. This paper provides an overview of the design of the system that will accept proposals from SKA users, and result in the execution of the scripts that will obtain science data, taking in the stages of detailed preparation, planning and scheduling of the observations and onwards tracking. It describes the unique challenges of the differing requirements of two telescopes, one of which is very much a software telescope, including the need to schedule the data processing as well as the acquisition, and to react to both internally and externally discovered transient events. The scheduling of multiple parallel sub-array use is covered, along with the need to handle commensal observing - using the same data stream to satisfy the science goals of more than one project simultaneously. An international team from academia and industry, drawing on expertise and experience from previous telescope projects, the virtual observatory and comparable problems in industry, has been assembled to design the solution to this challenging but exciting problem.
The Square Kilometre Array (SKA) project is responsible for developing the SKA Observatory, the world’s largest radio telescope, with eventually over a square kilometre of collecting area and including a general headquarters as well as two radio telescopes: SKA1-Mid in South Africa and SKA1-Low in Australia. The SKA project consists of a number of subsystems (elements) among which the Telescope Manager (TM) is the one involved in controlling and monitoring the SKA telescopes. The TM element has three primary responsibilities: management of astronomical observations, management of telescope hardware and software subsystems, management of data to support system operations and all stakeholders (operators, maintainers, engineers and science users) in achieving operational, maintenance and engineering goals. Operators, maintainers, engineers and science users will interact with TM via appropriate user interfaces (UI). The TM UI framework envisaged is a complete set of general technical solutions (components, technologies and design information) for implementing a generic computing system (UI platform). Such a system will enable UI components to be instantiated to allow for human interaction via screens, keyboards, mouse and to implement the necessary logic for acquiring or deriving the information needed for interaction. It will provide libraries and specific Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) to implement operator and engineer interactive interfaces. This paper will provide a status update of the TM UI framework, UI platform and UI components design effort, including the technology choices, and discuss key challenges in the TM UI architecture, as well as our approaches to addressing them.