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Construction Starts on LAT Operations Facility

When the Gamma-ray Large Area Space Telescope (GLAST) flies into space in Fall 2007, SLAC will be ready, thanks to the LAT Instrument Science Operations Center (ISOC).

The ISOC department at SLAC contains almost 40 people who will operate the Large Area Telescope (LAT), the main instrument on GLAST. Construction began September 15 to build the LAT Operations Facility, where the ISOC team will look after the health and safety of the instrument, work with NASA to operate it, and process its data to reconstruct detected gamma rays from the universe.

The operations facility will be in the Central Lab Annex building, on the first floor just inside the front entry. During the three-month construction project, the former cubicle area will be rearranged into two large rooms, one for office space and the other for a control center with plasma screens and multiple workstations to keep watch on the instrument, run special programs, and begin making sense of the data.

In addition, the existing LAT dataflow lab and an adjacent room will be expanded into a single large lab housing the data acquisition electronics testbed and the LAT calibration unit. Throughout LAT's mission in space, the testbed and calibration unit will be used to maintain LAT flight software, validate LAT configurations and commands, and troubleshoot and run diagnostics.

"The LAT is a superb instrument, and SLAC will be working closely with NASA to get the maximum science return from it once GLAST is in orbit, through the ISOC and the LAT collaboration," said ISOC Manager Rob Cameron.

The ISOC team is already conducting pre-launch operations testing with NASA and processing data from the LAT instrument, which recently arrived at General Dynamics C4 Systems in Arizona to be integrated with the GLAST spacecraft.

GLAST is an international project led by NASA and the Department of Energy.

—Heather Rock Woods
    SLAC Today, September 21, 2006

Above image: Construction project manager Jo Beth Folger and Jana Thayer survey the ducts in the area that will become the LAT Operations Facility for the GLAST mission.