The Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) is responsible for the Science and Operations Center (S&OC) for the JWST (in a similar fashion as for Hubble) and as such plays an important role in the development of the JWST. STScI will also be doing flight operations for JWST. Since 1999, the Institute has been leading the development of an operations concept - the vision for how astronomers and operators will use JWST. Details can be found in the Ferguson et al. (2000) interim report.
Astronomers view of the S&OC:- After submitting proposals and observing plans, proposals are selected in a peer review system similar to the one employed for HST. Once selected, the next few steps are generally invisible to the astronomer. The observing plan gets converted into a form suitable to command the spacecraft by the Flight Operations Team (FOT). The observations are scheduled, up-linked and executed, and the results are down-linked, all with the safety and efficiency of the observatory in mind. Calibration data is created and stored with the science data in the archive, at which point it becomes visible again to the astronomer. The S&OC will further provide software tools to aid proposal submission and data analysis, inform the general public through its Office of Public Outreach (OPO) and provide Grant Management.
The process of carrying out a science program on JWST can be summarized as follows:
Program selection and planning includes activities associated with informing the scientific community about the opportunities to observe with JWST, selecting the most compelling science programs, planning each program in detail, constructing a schedule of observations to be conducted with the observatory and user support.
Flight operations is the near real-time activity in the S&OC of obtaining and capturing science data from JWST, as well as monitoring and maintaining the performance of JWST. This ensures that the data returned will be of the highest quality possible.
Data Release encompasses the archiving, calibration, and distribution of science data. It also provides the information astronomers will need in order to analyze and publish their science investigations. This will include grants management support to provide funding to successful archive and GO programs.