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Space Telescope Science Institute

OPUS is the telemetry processing system currently operational at the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, Maryland. This system converts the incoming telemetry from the Hubble Space Telescope into standard output. OPUS software is based on the blackboard architecture and, as a result, is highly robust and portable.

OPUS also provides a pair of monitors/managers that can assist the operations staff in controlling the activities in the pipeline. Those monitors are Java-based, easy to use and portable.

One set of OPUS applications processes the telemetry, producing standard FITS (Flexible Image Transport System) data files. Those processes are to a great extent table-driven in an effort to reduce code changes, improve maintainability, and reduce the difficulty of porting to new missions.

OPUS is...

  • ...a fully distributed pipeline processing system for any series of applications.
  • environment for running multiple instances of multiple processes in multiple pipelines on multiple nodes.
  • ...a set of monitoring tools to help you control the distributed pipeline.
  • to run on Solaris (2.8), Linux Red Hat (8.0) and AIX (5.1) platforms or, with NFS devices, on a mixed set of platforms.
  • ...a fully operational telemetry pipeline system at the Hubble Space Telescope Science Institute.
  • ...extensible: allows easy integration of your own pipeline steps.
  • ...configurable: allows tailoring of pipeline processing to your own environment.
  • ...robust: in continuous operation at STScI since December 1995.
  • ...available: The OPUS platform which supports a complete pipeline is now available on CD-ROM with a sample pipeline.

Observatories and Satellites
That Use OPUS

OPUS is used operationally by an increasing number of observatories:

  • Hubble Space Telescope (HST)
  • Far Ultraviolet Spectroscopic Explorer (FUSE)
  • International Gamma-Ray Astrophysics Laboratory (INTEGRAL)
  • Chandra X-ray Observatory, AXAF (Chandra)
  • BeppoSAX X-ray Observatory (BeppoSAX)
  • Spitzer Space Telescope, SIRTF (Spitzer)
  • The Gemini Observatory (GEMINI)


  • Astronomer's Proposal Tools
    The goal of the APT project is to improve the proposal preparation process, in order to provide users with a more intuitive, visual, and interactive experience by means of state of the art technology.
  • Percy
    Percy is an interactive computer program which provides ephemeris and geometrical event information about solar system objects.
  • PyFITS
    PyFITS is a Python module for working with FITS files.
  • PyRAF
    PyRAF is an environment that combines the power and flexibility of Python with the ability to use IRAF and STSDAS tasks.
  • Spike Planning and Scheduling System
    Multi-Mission Planning and Scheduling System used for HST and other astronomical missions.
  • ST Grants Management System
    STScI Grants Management System (ST GMS), developed for administration of Space Telescope grants, is a flexible solution for granting agencies, investigators, and research administrators.
  • StarView
    StarView is an astronomical database browser and research analysis tool.
  • stsci_python
    stsci_python is a collection of applications and tools distributed by STScI for astronomical data analysis.
    STSDAS is a software package for analyzing astronomical data.
    TABLES is an external package in IRAF that provides support for tabular data for STSDAS and other packages.


The OPUS Team
Jim Rose, Chris Heller, Steve Slowinski, Daryl Swade,
Warren Miller, Lisa Sherbert, Mike Swam, Scott Binegar

If you are interested in a demonstration copy of the OPUS platform, have comments or suggestions, or wish to report problems or enhancement suggestions, contact or contact Daryl Swade at 410-516-4151.