Telescope Manager


Since the last reporting in December 2016 TM has baselined the last remaining LINFRA sub-element Requirements. The prototyping activity has continued in the area of performance analysis whereas LMC Interface Simulator prototype has seen a good progress. The TM Design Baseline was formed towards the end of January 2017. The revised TM Cost estimates have resulted in a reduction of the TM Construction cost by about ~22% over the last submission. In the meantime, GUI and Requirements Engineering activities are making good progress. The Software Architecture Workshop held at the SKAO in January 2017 has adopted the SEI approach and it has a significant impact on TM. This has caused major reorientation of the design teams and their effort because of change of emphasis of deliverables – more emphasis on quality attributes than the details of the design.

The summary of the work taken up since the last reporting, key events and accomplishments are as follows.


The TM consortium is close to submitting the next version of the Prototyping Report to the SKAO. This version of the Report contains updates from the additional prototyping carried out in a couple of TelMgt prototypes (EDA and M&C) in the area of performance analysis, to improve the confidence in the design and to include suggestions and comments from within the TM Consortium and from the SKAO. In the meantime, the LMC Interface Simulator has also progressed well over the last three months or so, and the last planned iteration is being worked upon currently; the version of the report being submitted will include results from this prototype as well.

Revised TM Cost Estimates

The TM revised cost estimates submitted ahead of the March 2017 SKA Board meeting saw a significant cost saving. The revised TM Cost estimates stand at 43 M Euros (including central contingency) which is about ~22% saving over the last submission in September 2016. The saving mainly comes from the harmonisation of labour rates and further refinement in the sub work packages. Travel costs and other non-labour costs (computing infrastructure, software licenses etc.) were standardised across sub work packages by means of a formula.

This time a WBS Dictionary was developed and accompanied the Cost Model spreadsheet and Basis of Estimate (BoE) document. The WBS Dictionary describes work packages in terms of related activities, outputs / deliverables, assumptions and exclusions, to provide more clarity and definition to the contents of the work packages. Primary risks contributing to uncertainties in activity estimates were identified within the WBS Dictionary, where positive and negative risk factors were applied to estimates to derive worst-case and best-case estimates.

Baselines Achieved

TM Design Baseline (DBL) was achieved towards the end of Jan 2017 and that completed the Milestone M17. LINFRA Requirements Baseline (RBL) was formed in January 2017 as part of the Milestone M20.

GUI Activities:

Following interviews with the MeerKAT operators, a couple of reports on MeerKAT Roles and UIs were generated and internally reviewed. Similar UI analysis was done for the Italian Medicina Observatory, and will be followed with other radio astronomy facilities.

A shortlisted UI scenario is being elaborated including storyboards with a focus to give support to the operator in assessing the impact of failures on the ongoing observations.

Like the other deliverables, the content for the UI deliverables is being defined currently due to the impact of SEI approach.

Adoption of SEI Approach for TM, Impact Analysis & Re-planning

The SEI Workshop coordinated by the SKAO, was held at Jodrell Bank in January 2017 and the same had good participation from the TM Consortium. As an outcome of this workshop, it was decided to adopt SEI approach for the software dominated elements of the SKA, which include TM. This will mean we have to follow SEI approach for CDR documentation and though TM welcomes this move as being useful, it comes with significant modification to the set of deliverables for CDR and significantly different way of representing contents within the deliverables.

The team has put in extensive effort over the last 2-3 months in understanding the impact of this new approach on TM. Various work streams have been set up within TM to work through implications. As part of this process, the team is working on Mission Threads (MTs) and Views. A workshop was held from 27-29 March to take a stock of the progress made on the MTs, Views and to firm up the plans for the remainder of the CDR phase. The TM Consortium has also come up with a new set of deliverables as per the guidelines and discussions with the SKAO. This is waiting for finalisation with the SKAO.

Pathfinder and Precursor Evaluation

The Evaluation Team (ET) set up by the TM Board is in the last stages of completing the evaluation of the monitor and control systems of the GMRT and MeerKAT facilities, with a view to identify potential of reuse from these facilities for the main SKA work. A preliminary version of the report was submitted and discussed within the TM Board, and a final version for release is currently under preparation. The outcome from this is expected to help guide the TM design activity.

Report provided by the TM consortium