Remote automatic control system of telescope

        Telescope remote automatic control system (RACS) is a remote automatic control system designed for debris observation, near earth target observation, astronomical observation and other telescopes.

R & D background:

        With the progress of telescope design and manufacture, detector, data processing and other technologies, especially the application of advanced electronic technology and computer technology in the design and manufacture of telescopes, the observation ability and sensitivity of telescopes are becoming stronger and stronger. In this context, the company has developed a complete telescope remote automatic control system for unattended independent observation and control of telescopes, which integrates the energy, network, weather station, telescope body, focal plane high-precision camera and other equipment of the observation station, and can access various telescopes according to the unified interface, The whole network can be connected to at least 30 observation telescopes. At the same time, the field telescope control system provides a unified equipment access interface, including command interface and status interface. Through the development of equipment transfer code, access to various telescope equipment.


Features and advantages:

  1. Unified instruction interface and state interface              

                  1.1  Establish the control instruction of each equipment, including instruction name, parameter, return value, instruction function description and instruction exception description.

                1.2  Establish all equipment status definitions, including status name, status description, status value range, exception level and description.

                1.3  When accessing the telescope equipment, the bridge between the unified command and the equipment command is established for the control command interface provided by each equipment, so as to complete the access of the equipment, and establish the abnormal working model of the equipment.

                1.4  When accessing the telescope equipment, the equipment status is named according to the unified naming format and rules, and entered into the system.

   2. Real-time understanding of the operation of field equipment

                2.1  The function of real-time storage of all data of the telescope site, including the status and operation data of the telescope operation, the environmental data of the site site and the scientific data after the telescope observation.

                2.2  Real-time synchronization of field data to the central server, reducing the bandwidth of secondary visits, and improving visit efficiency.

                2.3  Through the interactive interface to complete working conditions and environmental monitoring, task execution monitoring, all working conditions and environmental data are displayed on the interactive interface in real time, to effectively understand the various conditions of the telescope field side, and to conduct effective observation and control.

   3. Access field equipment through a unified interface to improve the operation and control efficiency of the entire observation network

                3.1  Through the WEB-based remote interactive interface and remote loading of scripts, the monitoring tasks of the telescope are issued, including remote control, data collection, instant insertion of emergency tasks, automatic recording of observation logs, etc.

                3.2  Provide the task plan editing function. After the task plan is edited in advance, the task plan is automatically loaded and the observation task is executed according to the needs of the task plan, and the task is automatically closed after the task is completed, reducing the consumption of system resources and improving the observation efficiency.

   4. Automatic observation and online automatic data processing

                4.1  The function of automatic observation strategy insertion, through the editing of the observation sequence, the observation sequence setting of the observation strategy after discovering a new target, the observation strategy after the tracking guide fails, and the processing strategy after the observation task fails, and it is triggered after the corresponding conditions are met Related observation strategies and automatic observation.

                4.2  The function of automatically adjusting the observation task, including according to the environmental monitoring results such as the actual sky light situation and cloud cover distribution, the telescope can be pointed to the sky area suitable for observation, and the observation efficiency can be improved.

                4.3  Remote online processing of the image data obtained by observation, real-time return display and storage in the corresponding database after obtaining the angle measurement data of the solution target.

   5. Fault diagnosis and processing, and high stability and reliability of the system

                5.1  When an abnormality occurs in the telescope equipment, the abnormality is evaluated and located according to the fault knowledge base, and self-protection measures are automatically taken to ensure the safe operation of the telescope.

                5.2  According to the fault knowledge base, the typical fault can be automatically processed, and the related information of the fault and the fault processing process are recorded, and the fault processing log of the telescope is written to provide a reference for the stable operation of the telescope.

                5.3  Provides the function of emergency shutdown in the event of major abnormalities or environmental abnormalities, including automatically closing the dome and tentative observation tasks when the observing station environment is not suitable for observation (abnormal), and opening the dome to continue the observation task when the observing station environment is suitable for observation.

                5.4  Record abnormal status data, return to the central console in real time and send emails to relevant technicians for alarm processing.

                5.5  The long-term stability test, in the laboratory test environment, the stable operation time without failure exceeds 150 hours.


Application areas:   

             PX-RACS is a remote automatic control system designed for debris observation, near earth target observation, astronomical observation and other telescopes. Especially for space debris observation telescopes, they need to be deployed all over the world to establish a space target and debris monitoring system with large monitoring area, wide range and continuous monitoring. At present, the system has been used in the debris observation project of CSTAR2 of Zijinshan Observatory and National Observatory.

             PX-RACS  provides two levels of observation and control, including field telescope observation control and observation network operation platform. The whole system uses the latest RACS2 framework developed by the company, including real-time device control, flexible telescope observation control, and user interaction based on real-time push web technology.

  PX-RACS Functional block diagram

Technology used: EPICS / RACS2 / Python / Vue

           RACS2: Aiming at the complexity of telescope control and the characteristics of observation operation business, and absorbing the advantages of CORBA, epics, RTS2 and other software frameworks that can be used for telescope control, RACS2, the second generation remote autonomous control system, is developed to provide telescope control solutions. The business logic of debris observation project and CSTAR2 sky survey project is adapted. RACS2 is a distributed telescope observation and control system with the characteristics of decentralization and automatic component discovery. At the beginning of the design, RACS2 fully considered the modular design and extensible design. The bottom layer is written in modern C + + language, and the object-oriented design provides rich extensibility for RACS2. In addition, RACS2 also provides full function Python interface binding and epics bridge function.

      The bottom layer of the system uses a software framework that combines RACS2 and EPICS, the bottom device uses EPICS control, the telescope observation control uses the RACS2 framework, the back end uses today's popular python for development, and the user interface uses one of the three mainstream front-end frameworks Vue for development. The overall architecture of the system is shown in the figure below:


PX-RACS Control framework


Service and support:

The company provides comprehensive services for users who use the system:

   1. Comprehensive and detailed user manual

   2. Free system installation and commissioning training

   3. During the service period, the company’s friendly remote assistance service