Software systems for operation, control, and monitoring of the EBEX instrument

Michael Milligan, Peter Ade, François Aubin, Carlo Baccigalupi, Chaoyun Bao, Julian Borrill, Christopher Cantalupo, Daniel Chapman, Joy Didier, Matt Dobbs, Will Grainger, Shaul Hanany, Seth Hillbrand, Johannes Hubmayr, Peter Hyland, Andrew Jaffe, Bradley Johnson, Theodore Kisner, Jeff Klein, Andrei KorotkovSam Leach, Adrian Lee, Lorne Levinson, Michele Limon, Kevin MacDermid, Tomotake Matsumura, Amber Miller, Enzo Pascale, Daniel Polsgrove, Nicolas Ponthieu, Kate Raach, Britt Reichborn-Kjennerud, Ilan Sagiv, Huan Tran, Gregory S. Tucker, Yury Vinokurov, Amit Yadav, Matias Zaldarriaga, Kyle Zilic

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

6 Scopus citations


We present the hardware and software systems implementing autonomous operation, distributed real-time monitoring, and control for the EBEX instrument. EBEX is a NASA-funded balloon-borne microwave polarimeter designed for a 14 day Antarctic flight that circumnavigates the pole. To meet its science goals the EBEX instrument autonomously executes several tasks in parallel: it collects attitude data and maintains pointing control in order to adhere to an observing schedule; tunes and operates up to 1920 TES bolometers and 120 SQUID amplifiers controlled by as many as 30 embedded computers; coordinates and dispatches jobs across an onboard computer network to manage this detector readout system; logs over 3 GiB/hour of science and housekeeping data to an onboard disk storage array; responds to a variety of commands and exogenous events; and downlinks multiple heterogeneous data streams representing a selected subset of the total logged data. Most of the systems implementing these functions have been tested during a recent engineering flight of the payload, and have proven to meet the target requirements. The EBEX ground segment couples uplink and downlink hardware to a client-server software stack, enabling real-time monitoring and command responsibility to be distributed across the public internet or other standard computer networks. Using the emerging dirfile standard as a uniform intermediate data format, a variety of front end programs provide access to different components and views of the downlinked data products. This distributed architecture was demonstrated operating across multiple widely dispersed sites prior to and during the EBEX engineering flight.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationSoftware and Cyberinfrastructure for Astronomy
EditionPART 1
StatePublished - 2010
EventSoftware and Cyberinfrastructure for Astronomy - San Diego, CA, United States
Duration: Jun 27 2010Jun 30 2010

Publication series

NameProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
NumberPART 1
ISSN (Print)0277-786X


ConferenceSoftware and Cyberinfrastructure for Astronomy
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Diego, CA


  • CMB
  • ballooning
  • data handling
  • flight control systems
  • millimeter-wave telescopes


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