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Space Telescope Science Institute
Spike Planning and Scheduling System

What is Spike?

The Space Telescope Science Institute developed the Spike planning and scheduling software in support of the Hubble Space Telescope as a general toolkit for planning and scheduling under Contract NAS5-26555 with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

It is our desire that this toolkit be used to promote scientific research through the effective and efficient use of ground- and space-based astronomical observatories. By providing the Spike system to other facilities, we are developing a community of users who use and enhance the Spike system. The STScI is a clearinghouse for users, bug fixes, modifications, etc.

Spike is a general framework for planning and scheduling. Capabilities include:

  • A powerful yet efficient method (suitability functions) to represent the wide variety of strict and preferential constraints encountered in real scheduling problems
  • Long-, medium- and short-term Ground Based Telescope scheduling
  • Long and short-term Orbiting Spacecraft scheduling
  • Absolute constraints (ie., observation at time X.)
  • Relative constraints (ie., A after B by X days)
  • Resource constraints (ie., Data Volume, Number of Real Time Contacts)
  • Constraint Satisfaction Problem (CSP) based scheduler
  • Plan Windows based scheduler
  • Powerful, customizable automatic scheduler based on the multistart stochastic repair technique.
  • Fast, efficient constraint propagation and scheduling algorithms
  • Graphical user interface as well as ability to run in automated mode
  • Queue (interleaved) and batch scheduling
  • Library of mathematical, time, astronomical and graphic display utility functions.


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