SOFIA Instrument Proposal Project Charter


Now that SOFIA is flying and has begun early science flights, they are planning to issue a call for proposals for second generation instrumentation with funding beginning as early as FY2012. The draft AO (Announcement of Opportunity) was released in December 2010 with comments due February 11, 2011. The actual Call for Proposals is planned to be released in mid-2011 with final proposals due 90 days later. The purpose of this project is to coordinate the NRAO response to this Call for Proposals, with the end product being one or more final submitted proposals with NRAO as a major contributor. A possible end-product is also an informed decision not to be involved in any proposal, though this result is unlikely.

Our Mission

NRAO Mission:

The National Radio Astronomy Observatory enables forefront research into the Universe at radio wavelengths.

In partnership with the scientific community, we:

  • provide world leading telescopes, instrumentation and expertise,
  • train the next generation of scientists and engineers, and
  • promote astronomy to foster a more scientifically literate society.

CDL Mission (proposed):

  • Develop technologies necessary for the long-range objectives of the Observatory
  • Advance the state of the art of the technologies required to support the Observatory’s mission.

Why Propose a SOFIA Science Instrument?

  • To do Fantastic Science
  • To push the leading edge of detector / spectrometer capability
  • To exploit synergies with other NRAO development
  • To make use of our unique capabilities (large scale production, system integration, quality) as a National Facility
  • To maintain funding to retain these capabilities for future development purposes

Project Scope

Overview of Deliverables

  • Plans/Schedules/Minutes/WikiPage
  • NRAO Science Case for SOFIA
  • Instrument Concept White Papers
  • Decision on NRAO response to Call for Proposals
  • Draft v0.5 for NRAO Science/Engineering Advisory Panel Review
  • Draft v1.0 for NRAO Business Office/OSC/OTC Review
  • Final Submitted Proposal(s) to NASA

Specific Project Objectives & Success Criteria

  • A science-driven proposal to NASA that takes advantage of NRAO technical expertise with realistic cost and schedule and a high chance of selection
  • An open and thorough proposal-generation process that applies sufficient time and resources for proper review by NRAO science and engineering


  • 18-Feb-2011: NRAO Science/Engineering Advisory Panels in place
  • 25-Feb-2011: NRAO Science Priorities and Instrument Concepts Complete
  • 4-Mar-2011: Potential Collaborators Contacted
  • 25-Mar-2011: Preliminary Science Case Complete
  • 8-Apr-2011: Instrument Concept White Papers Complete
  • 22-Apr-2011: Downselection of Instrument Concepts
  • 29-Apr-2011: Conceptual Review by OSC and OTC
  • 15-May-2011: Early Estimate of AO Release Date
  • 31-May-2011: Deadline for Decision to Propose (internally imposed)
  • 31-May-2011: Confirmation of Instrument Concept Selection(s)
  • 31-May-2011: Proposal(s) Drafting Team identified
  • 30-June-2011: Draft v0.5 distributed to Advisory Panels for review
  • 15-July-2011: Draft v1.0 submitted to NRAO business office and OSC/OTC for final review (30 days prior to Proposal deadline)
  • 15-Aug-2011: Early Estimate of Proposal Deadline (90 days from AO release)

NRAO Science Priorities for SOFIA


-- RichardPrestage - 2011-04-05
Topic revision: r2 - 2011-04-05, EricBryerton
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