The Japanese X-ray astronomy satellite ASCA (Advanced Satellite for Cosmology and Astrophysics) mission requires scheduling for each 6-month observation phase, further broken down into weekly schedules at a few minutes resolution. Two tools, SPIKE and NEEDLE, written in Lisp and C, use artificial intelligence (AI) techniques combined with a graphic user interface for fast creation and alteration of mission schedules. These programs consider viewing and satellite attitude constraints as well as observer-requested criteria and present an optimized set of solutions for review by the planner. Six-month schedules at 1 day resolution are created for an oversubscribed set of targets by the SPIKE software, originally written for HST and presently being adapted for EUVE, XTE and AXAF. The NEEDLE code creates weekly schedules at 1 min resolution using in-house orbital routines and creates output for processing by the command generation software. Schedule creation on both the long- and short-term scale is rapid, less than 1 day for long-term, and one hour for short-term.
Astronomical Data Analysis Software and Systems III
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