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Proceedings Paper

Automating engineering verification in ALMA subsystems
Author(s): José Ortiz; Jorge Castillo
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Paper Abstract

The Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array is an interferometer comprising 66 individual high precision antennas located over 5000 meters altitude in the north of Chile. Several complex electronic subsystems need to be meticulously tested at different stages of an antenna commissioning, both independently and when integrated together. First subsystem integration takes place at the Operations Support Facilities (OSF), at an altitude of 3000 meters. Second integration occurs at the high altitude Array Operations Site (AOS), where also combined performance with Central Local Oscillator (CLO) and Correlator is assessed. In addition, there are several other events requiring complete or partial verification of instrument specifications compliance, such as parts replacements, calibration, relocation within AOS, preventive maintenance and troubleshooting due to poor performance in scientific observations. Restricted engineering time allocation and the constant pressure of minimizing downtime in a 24/7 astronomical observatory, impose the need to complete (and report) the aforementioned verifications in the least possible time. Array-wide disturbances, such as global power interruptions and following recovery, generate the added challenge of executing this checkout on multiple antenna elements at once. This paper presents the outcome of the automation of engineering verification setup, execution, notification and reporting in ALMA and how these efforts have resulted in a dramatic reduction of both time and operator training required. Signal Path Connectivity (SPC) checkout is introduced as a notable case of such automation.

Paper Details

Date Published: 6 August 2014
PDF: 11 pages
Proc. SPIE 9149, Observatory Operations: Strategies, Processes, and Systems V, 914929 (6 August 2014); doi: 10.1117/12.2054968
Show Author Affiliations
José Ortiz, Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (Chile)
Jorge Castillo, Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (Chile)

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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