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Proceedings Paper

Highly automated on-orbit operations of the NuSTAR telescope
Author(s): Bryce Roberts; Manfred Bester; Renee Dumlao; Marty Eckert; Sam Johnson; Mark Lewis; John McDonald; Deron Pease; Greg Picard; Jeremy Thorsness
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Paper Abstract

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.

Paper Details

Date Published: 7 August 2014
PDF: 10 pages
Proc. SPIE 9149, Observatory Operations: Strategies, Processes, and Systems V, 91490T (7 August 2014); doi: 10.1117/12.2056547
Show Author Affiliations
Bryce Roberts, Univ. of California, Berkeley (United States)
Manfred Bester, Univ. of California, Berkeley (United States)
Renee Dumlao, Univ. of California, Berkeley (United States)
Marty Eckert, Univ. of California, Berkeley (United States)
Sam Johnson, Univ. of California, Berkeley (United States)
Mark Lewis, Univ. of California, Berkeley (United States)
John McDonald, Univ. of California, Berkeley (United States)
Deron Pease, Univ. of California, Berkeley (United States)
Greg Picard, Univ. of California, Berkeley (United States)
Jeremy Thorsness, Univ. of California, Berkeley (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 9149:
Observatory Operations: Strategies, Processes, and Systems V
Alison B. Peck; Chris R. Benn; Robert L. Seaman, Editor(s)

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