The adapter and mirror control hardware has been finished while the user interface was finished in parallel and there were no additional delays. There are still a few minor issues with the hardware, but these are non-critical.
Currently a full system "burn-in" test is made with all extensions and I/O cards connected but not mounted and connected to the telescope. The purpose of this test is to verify the long term reliability of the hardware.
The new user interface also been completed, and there is now also a remote user interface which (with some restrictions) allows to operate the TCS from practically any computer. Test versions for both user interfaces have been set-up to allow off-line tests. We currently are planning the on telescope commissioning of the new TCS in a period at the end of May/start of June.
One issue remaining for the new TCS is the handling of (standard) object catalogs. For up to 50,000 objects there is no problem, but if we want to have many more objects more or less instantaneously available we need to consider having something like a object catalog server similar to the guide star server. To decide this we should first get an approximate idea about how many stars with their position we would like to have readily available. The questions being what kind (infra-red and optical photometric standards, spectrophotometric standards, astrometric standards, radial-velocity standards, etc) from which kind of catalog (Landolt, USNO, etc.) we want and how many stars this would include.
Thomas Augusteijn 2006-05-08