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Session 17 - Data Archives & Tools.
Display session, Wednesday, January 07
Exhibit Hall,

[17.09] RPS2 Proposal Submission Software: Testing and Distribution of Periodically Updated Software

R. E. Douglas Jr. (STScI)

In 1995, the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) introduced RPS2 (Remote Proposal Submission 2nd Generation). RPS2 is used by Hubble Space Telescope (HST) proposers to prepare their detailed observation descriptions. It is a client/server system implemented using Tcl/Tk. The client can transparently access servers on the user's machine, at STScI, or on any other machine on the Internet. The servers combine syntax checking, feasibility analysis, orbit packing, and constraint and schedulability analysis of user-specified observations.

Prior to the release of RPS2, observers used a system which provided only syntax checking. RPS2 now provides the observers with some of the more advanced software, that had previously been available only to STScI staff for the preparation of detailed observing plans. The RPS2 system consists of four independent subsystems which are controlled by the client/server mechanism.

A problem with a system of this size and complexity is that the software components, which continue to grow and change with HST itself, must continually be tested and distributed to those who need them. In the past, it had been acceptable to release the RPS2 software only once per observing cycle, but it became apparent before the 1997 HST Servicing Mission that multiple releases of RPS2 were going to be required to support the new instruments. This paper discusses how RPS2 and its component systems are maintained, updated, tested, and distributed.

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