Observing with HST III: Improvements to Long Range Planning

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Session 9 -- HST Observing and Instruments
Display presentation, Monday, 9, 1995, 9:20am - 6:30pm

[9.04] Observing with HST III: Improvements to Long Range Planning

G. Miller (STScI), D. McElroy (CSC/STScI), W. Kinzel (CSC/STScI), M. Shea (STScI), M. Reinhart (CSC/STScI), S. Wissler (STScI)

The Long Range Plan is an important tool for both the observer and the observatory staff. The Plan schedules observations to be executed at near-optimal times and provides a yardstick for monitoring the overall execution of the science program. It allows observers and staff to plan their work and can be an important tool for assessing the effect of spacecraft and instrument anomalies. HST long-range planning in earlier cycles allocated an observation to a single week over a cycle. This strategy was unacceptably unstable, in that large numbers of observations could not actually be executed in their planned time, and had to be re-planned. We have recently developed and tested a new technique for HST long-range planning which retains the high quality and efficiency of the current observation timeline and provides a stable plan. Observations are assigned ``plan windows'' which are a subset of the observing opportunities dictated by the scientific and spacecraft constraints. For most observations, a single plan window of 8 weeks in duration is assigned. This paper discusses the creation of plan windows and concepts for HST long-range planning. We are currently phasing this new technique into the telescope operations and will be making the long-range plan available to the community (including access via the World Wide Web).

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