Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Proposal Solicitation, Planning, and Scheduling

The opportunity to propose for Webb observations will be open to the international astronomical community. We anticipate that the first Call for Proposals will be issued approximately 1 year before launch. The first year of science observations will be roughly split 50/50 between General Observers and Guaranteed Time Observers, with the GTO portion ramping down over the next two years.

As with Hubble, Chandra, and Spitzer, proposals requesting Webb resources will have to go through the steps of proposal preparation, proposal selection, and observing plan scheduling.

  • Proposal Solicitation and Preparation The STScI will widely advertise proposal opportunities and will provide user-friendly documentation and proposal tools. The advanced Proposal Planning Tools (PPT) will allow the user to completely specify their observations with their proposal, in spite of the special scheduling constraints of JWST. The goal is to largely eliminate the Phase 2 observation specification normally needed after proposal selection.

  • Proposal Selection Just as with Hubble, Webb proposals will be submitted to the S&OC and will be reviewed by the Time Allocation Committee (TAC), which recommends the best combination of proposals for scheduling on the telescope. The contents of approved proposals will be saved in the proposal database, which will be used both for proposal tracking and proposal scheduling.

  • Program Scheduling The nature of the second Lagrange (L2) orbit makes scheduling of Webb easier than Hubble, but also necessitates long-range observing plans of at least one year's duration. The Proposal Planning Tools used to prepare proposals will allow many proposals to be incorporated directly into the schedule. Only complicated programs, for example those with linked visits and very specific orientation requirements, are likely to require iteration. Calibrations will be regularly scheduled and guide stars will be selected automatically for each observation.