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Science Operations Design Reference Mission 

The 2012 edition of the Science Operations Design Reference Mission (SODRM) was a major exercise in simulating the scientific program of the observatory. The 2012 SODRM updated the 2005 version and was designed to represent the range and depth of science programs that JWST will carry out in its first year of science operations. Its main purpose was to provide a realistic test bed for the design and implementation of the JWST ground system at STScI, and for simulations of the operating schedule for the observatory and its instruments. The 112 SODRM programs covered a wide range of science and calibrations from a broad cross-section of scientists from the STScI, GSFC, and the JWST instrument teams. The SODRM 2012 programs did not represent actual allocations or reservations of observing time; the real JWST observing programs will consist primarily of programs competitively selected by the Telescope Allocation Committee (TAC), plus Guaranteed Time Observations (GTO).

Over the long term, we expected to use the SODRM extensively to improve the JWST ground and flight operational systems. The SODRM deliberately exercised all the instrument modes and invoked a wide range of special requirements for mosaics, orient specifications, and timing. Such requirements tested the limits of our ability to plan, schedule, and execute observations with this complex facility. In the near term, we used the SODRM to identify the observational overheads with the greatest impact on observational efficiency.

Summary of SODRM Programs by Category

Category # of Programs Total Time (Days) Percentage of Total Time
Solar System 8 51.3 7.9%
Exoplanets 14 104.4 16.1%
Galactic 19 132.3 20.4%
Nearby Galaxies 13 111.3 17.2%
Distant Galaxies and Cosmology 16 204.5 31.5%
Instrument Calibration 40 31.9 4.9%
Observation Calibration 2 13.0 2%
Total 112 648.7 100%


You may view the different representations of the distribution of the SODRM programs, which illustrate how all of the expected science and calibration areas are well represented in the SODRM 2012.

Science Program Highlights

SODRM Programs


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The NASA James Webb Space Telescope, developed in partnership with ESA and CSA, is operated by AURA’s Space Telescope Science Institute.