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Session 42 - SIRTF.
Display session, Thursday, January 08
Exhibit Hall,

[42.06] Low-Cost SIRTF Flight Operations

M. -J. Deutsch, M. Ebersole (NASA/JPL), J. Nichols (Caltech/IPAC)

The Space Infrared Telescope Facility (SIRTF) , the fourth of the Great Observatories, will be placed in a unique solar orbit trailing the Earth, in 2001. SIRTF will acquire both imaging and spectral data using large infrared detector arrays from 3.5mm to 160mm. The primary science objectives are search for and study of brown dwarfs and super planets, (2) discovery and study of protoplanetary debris disks, (3) study of ultraluminous galaxies and active galactic nuclei, and (4) study of the early Universe.

Driven by the limited cryogenic lifetime of 2.5 years, with a goal of 5 years, and the severely cost-capped development, a Mission Planning and Operations system is being designed that will result in high on-board efficiency (>90low-cost operation, yet will accommodate rapid response science requirements .

SIRTF is designing an architecture for an operations system that will be shared between science and flight operations. Crucial to this effort is the philosophy of an integrated science and engineering plan, co-location, cross-training of teams and common planning tools.

The common tool set will enable the automatic generation of an integrated and conflict free planned schedule accommodating 20 000 observations and engineering activities a year. The shared tool set will help generate standard observations , (sometimes non-standard) engineering activities and manage the ground and flight resources and constraints appropriately. The ground software will allow the development from the ground of robust event driven sequences. Flexibility will be provided to incorporate newly discovered science opportunities or health issues late in the process and via quick links. This shared science and flight operations process if used from observation selection through sequence and command generation, will provide a low-cost operations system.

Though SIRTF is a ≥Great Observatory≤, its annual mission operations costs will more closely resemble those of an Explorer class mission.


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