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Space Telescope Science Institute

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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