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Proceedings Paper

The system support associate model at Gemini Observatory
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Paper Abstract

At Gemini Observatory, the traditional employment position of telescope operator has been discarded in favor of a more diverse and flexible position known as System Support Associate (SSA). From the very beginning, the operational model of Gemini was designed to involve SSAs in observatory projects well beyond the strict operation of the telescope systems. We describe the motivation behind the original model, how it was eventually implemented and how it has evolved. We describe how the schedule allows SSAs to assume different roles within Gemini and how flexible time allows them to participate to a wide range of projects, increasing their motivation, deepening their knowledge and strengthening communication between groups, as well as allowing management to allocate resources to projects that would otherwise lack manpower. We give examples of such projects and comment on the difficulties inherent in the model.

Paper Details

Date Published: 12 July 2008
PDF: 8 pages
Proc. SPIE 7016, Observatory Operations: Strategies, Processes, and Systems II, 701624 (12 July 2008); doi: 10.1117/12.788332
Show Author Affiliations
Marie-Claire Hainaut, Gemini Observatory Southern Operations Ctr. (Chile)
Dolores Coulson, Gemini Observatory Northern Operations Ctr. (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 7016:
Observatory Operations: Strategies, Processes, and Systems II
Roger J. Brissenden; David R. Silva, Editor(s)

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