The PLATO Dome A site-testing observatory: Power generation and control systems

Lawrence, J. S. et al., 2009, Review of Scientific Instruments, 80, 064501 | View on ADS (2009RScI...80f4501L) | Access via DOI


The atmospheric conditions above Dome A, a currently unmanned location at the highest point on the Antarctic plateau, are uniquely suited to astronomy. For certain types of astronomy Dome A is likely to be the best location on the planet, and this has motivated the development of the Plateau Observatory (PLATO). PLATO was deployed to Dome A in early 2008. It houses a suite of purpose-built site-testing instruments designed to quantify the benefits of Dome A site for astronomy, and science instruments designed to take advantage of the observing conditions. The PLATO power generation and control system is designed to provide continuous power and heat, and a high-reliability command and communications platform for these instruments. PLATO has run and collected data throughout the winter 2008 season completely unattended. Here we present a detailed description of the power generation, power control, thermal management, instrument interface, and communications systems for PLATO, and an overview of the system performance for 2008.

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