Publication
PLATO control and robotics

Luong-Van, Daniel M. et al., 2008, Advanced Software and Control for Astronomy II, 7019, 70192U | View on ADS (2008SPIE.7019E..2UL) | Access via DOI

Abstract

PLATO, the 'PLATeau Observatory', is a robotic Antarctic observatory developed by UNSW for deployment to Dome A, the highest point on the Antarctic plateau. PLATO is designed to run autonomously for up to a year, providing power, communications and thermal management for a suite of scientific and site-testing instruments. To achieve this degree of autonomy, multiple-redundant Linux-based 'supervisor' computers, each with their own watchdog-timer and Iridium satellite-modem, communicate with each other and with the outside world. The active supervisor computer monitors and controls the PLATO power distribution, thermal and engine management subsystems via a CAN (Control Area Network) bus. High-bandwidth communication between the instruments and the supervisor computers is via a 100 Mbps Local Area Network. Data is stored in cold-verified flash memory. The PLATO computers monitor up to 140 analog channels and distribute electrical power and heating to 96 current-monitored channels via an intelligent load-shedding algorithm.

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