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Remote observing with the Keck Telescope from California using NASA's ACTS satellite

Shopbell, P. L. and Cohen, J. G. and Bergman, L. (1997) Remote observing with the Keck Telescope from California using NASA's ACTS satellite. In: Telescope Control Systems II. Proceedings of SPIE. No.3112. Society of Photo-optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE) , Bellingham, WA, pp. 209-220. ISBN 9780819425348.

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As a technical demonstration project for the NASA Advanced Communications Technology Satellite (ACTS), we have implemented remote observing on the 10-meter Keck II telescope on Mauna Kea in Hawaii from the California Institute of Technology campus in Pasadena. The data connection consists of ATM networks in Hawaii and California, running at OC-1 speeds (51 Mbit/sec) through optical fiber, and high data rate (HDR) satellite antennae at JPL in Pasadena and at the Tripler Army Medical Center in Honolulu. The ACTS network provides sufficient bandwidth to enable true remote observing, with a software environment identical to that used for on-site observing. In this paper, we demonstrate that while the satellite link introduces a number of difficulties and decreases overall reliability of the system, remote observing is not only feasible, but provides several important advantages over standard observing paradigms. Benefits include involving more members of observing teams while decreasing expenses, enhancing real-time data analysis of observations by persons not subject to altitude-related conditions, and providing facilities, expertise, and personnel not normally available at the observing site. Although the current bandwidth of the public Internet is insufficient for true remote observing, we nevertheless anticipate a growing role for remote observing techniques, particularly as high-speed terrestrial networking paradigms, such as ATM, become more commonly available.

Item Type:Book Section
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Cohen, J. G.0000-0002-8039-4673
Additional Information:© 1997 Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). The research described in this paper was performed primarily at the California Institute of Technology and at the Center for Space Microelectronics Technology at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. It has been sponsored by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Office of Advanced Concepts and Technology, under grant BK-509-20-42-00-00. The W. M. Keck Observatory is operated as a scientific partnership between the California Institute of Technology and the University of California. It was made possible by the generous gift of the W. M. Keck Foundation, and the support of its late president, Howard Keck. We also wish to thank Jimi Patel and Carl McFadden, our ground station operators at JPL and Tripler Army Medical Center, respectively, and Jon Chock, the Keck Observatory Systems Administrator, for their crucial assistance for the entire duration of this project. The scheduling and operations staff for ACTS have been extremely accommodating as well.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
W. M. Keck FoundationUNSPECIFIED
Subject Keywords:remote observing, Keck Observatory, ACTS, satellite communications, ATM
Series Name:Proceedings of SPIE
Issue or Number:3112
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20190603-153225613
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Official Citation:Patrick L. Shopbell, Judith G. Cohen, and Larry A. Bergman "Remote observing with the Keck Telescope from California using NASA's ACTS satellite", Proc. SPIE 3112, Telescope Control Systems II, (18 September 1997); doi: 10.1117/12.278835;
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:96093
Deposited By: George Porter
Deposited On:04 Jun 2019 21:54
Last Modified:16 Nov 2021 17:17

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