Instrument Remote Control
Goddard Space Flight Center's
Instrument Remote Control (IRC) project is an ongoing
effort led by the
Advanced Architectures and Automations Branch
(Code 588). IRC supports NASA's mission by defining an adaptive
framework that provides robust interactive and distributed control
and monitoring of remote instruments. IRC will eventually enable
trusted astronomers from around the world to easily access
infrared instruments (e.g., telescopes, cameras, and
spectrometers) located in remote, inhospitable environments, such
as the South Pole, a high mountaintop, or an airborne
observatory. The IRC framework will ultimately enable
astronomers, instrument designers, hardware engineers, and other
scientists to define onboard instruments, to control the
instruments remotely, and to monitor vital instrument telemetry
over an intranet or, for trusted users, possibly the Internet.
IRC technology will be making its debut as an operational solution
on an actual twenty-year NASA mission. The initial effort is
targeted for the SOFIA (Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared
Astronomy) project, a Boeing 747-SP aircraft modified to
accommodate a 2.5 meter reflecting telescope. In 2001, SOFIA will
be the largest airborne telescope in the world. One of the first
light instruments named HAWC (High Resolution Airborne
Wideband Camera), is the first focus of our technology.
- Enabling access of infrared astronomical instruments located in remote, inhospitable environments.
- Configurable software architecture supporting instrument remote control.
- Easy to develop, modify, maintain, extend.
- Distributed - assign processes to different computers, regardless of operating system.
- Instrument Remote Control (IRC) began as a small prototyping effort for CARA at the South Pole in 1997.
- Developed a distributed architecture and Graphical User Inteface to remotely control heaters attached to a telescope located at the South Pole.
- Early 1998: Idea to describe instrument control via XML (Extensible Markup Language).
- Mid 1998: Began SOFIA HAWC effort.
- Feb. 1999: Completed HAWC prototype.
- Feb. 1999: Began ESA SPIRE effort.