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Proceedings Paper

VLT telescope control software: an overview
Author(s): Krister Wirenstrand
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Paper Abstract

The design of the VLT Telescope control software is driven by requirements of different nature and origin: technical/astronomical requirements, operational requirements, test and maintenance requirements, and general system engineering requirements. A driving factor is also the multitude of devices to be controlled and coordinated, which in itself leads to complications due to the large number of cases to be handled. The VLT Telescope control software will control and coordinate a large number of devices for each of the four 8 m telescopes, each with four individual foci, and additionally two combined foci. It is a requirement to support a large variety of observing instruments and procedures, some developed in-house, some by outside institutes and companies, and some still to be defined. The VLT control system is a highly distributed system; the control of devices is implemented in one VME unit for each device. All VMEs requiring accurate timing are also connected to the central time distribution system, which is of course a vital component in the tracking system. They are also connected to multiple LANs, to cope with different performance requirements. The use of a real-time database is an important design concept. A commercially available product is used (HP/Rtap), on which ESO has developed an additional layer of software that is used for all VLT application software. ESO has also developed a similar standard package for the VMEs that is compatible with the equivalent workstation layer. The paper describes different requirements and involved equipment, and it presents the main parts and characteristics of the software that should meet these requirements. The first part of the paper is an introduction to the telescope control part of the total VLT control system. Then there is a description of the environment and infrastructure on which the telescope control system is based, and finally a presentation of the telescope control software itself.

Paper Details

Date Published: 8 June 1995
PDF: 11 pages
Proc. SPIE 2479, Telescope Control Systems, (8 June 1995); doi: 10.1117/12.211431
Show Author Affiliations
Krister Wirenstrand, European Southern Observatory (Germany)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 2479:
Telescope Control Systems
Patrick T. Wallace, Editor(s)

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