Virtually real user interfaces and device independent communications systems provide a robust, secure and efficient means for remote control of telescopes, data transfer, and interaction among personnel at distant sites. A variety of techniques has been implemented for remote operation of telescopes. This paper describes a new system incorporating secured, compacted, simultaneous information transfer of multiple data types, robust command structure and a user interface which pre-tests commands for security. Testing is accomplished by manipulating and displaying planned allowable motions using a virtual telescope and instrument before real hardware executes the desired motions. Embedded in this system is the ability to create efficient interfaces for all classes of users, data and system security, error correction and multiple forms of data compression. The system results from a merger of a military command and control system and a control system for robots operating in hazardous environments. Both systems were developed by Sandia National Laboratories. The merged system is proposed to enable elementary school children to access remotely operable telescopes and other assets of the LodeStar Project, which provides science education and research capability throughout New Mexico. The definition and constraints on the system are appropriate for its use by the professional astronomical community, as well, perhaps as a standard control and communications system supported, in part, within the national laboratories. In this paper we discuss implementation of the prototype system, its features, and its constraints, particularly with respect to bandwidth limitations.
Astronomical Data Analysis Software and Systems V
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