P17310: RIT Observatory Telescope Dome Controls

Problem Definition

Table of Contents

Team Vision for Problem Definition Phase

Project Summary

An automated observatory makes it easy to observe the stars from a remote location. As time passes, the position of the stars in the sky changes location to which the telescope and dome will move to accordingly not to obstruct the view of the telescope. Currently, the dome at the RIT observatory moves independently of the telescope and requires periodic manual adjustments.

The goals of this project are to facilitate communication between the dome and the telescope to synchronize their motions with minimal user interaction. It is expected that we incorporate existing software available at the observatory as well as existing motors and only add sensors and microcontrollers where needed to minimize additional wire clutter in the already confined space.

Project Background

The RIT Observatory has had the bare necessities to operate as a functional observatory for years. The dome is motorized, but must be operated manually, moving both the entire structure and the slit on a regular basis. In order for the Observatory to function more effectively and to allow users to focus on other aspects of obtaining science images, it requires several technical upgrades.

Customer Interview

Date Person(s) Notes
August 30, 2016 Dr. Richmond & Dr. Connelly Session 1


Stakeholder Position
RIT School of Physics and Astronomy (SoPA) MSD Sponsor
Dr. Michael Richmond Director, RIT Observatory, Customer
Dr. Jennifer Connelly Professor of Physics, Customer
RIT Students Specific Interest Group

Use Cases

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Project Goals and Key Deliverables

Customer Requirements (Needs)

Customer Requirements

Customer Requirements

The working Customer Requirements can be found here.

Engineering Requirements (Metrics & Specifications)

Engineering Requirements

Engineering Requirements

The working Engineering Requirements can be found here.


House of Quality

House of Quality

House of Quality

Design Review Materials

Problem Definition Design Review Presentation

Review Feedback


justified|Motor Benchmark

justified|Dome Controller Benchmark


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Plans for next phase

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Ahmed Alhurubi's Three Week Plan: Ahmed's Goals

Joseph Brescia's Three Week Plan: Joe's Goals

Raymond Castro's Three Week Plan: Ray's Goals

Wilson Quizhpi's Three Week Plan: Wilson's Goals

Sarah Williams's Three Week Plan: Sarah's Goals

Home | Planning & Execution | Imagine RIT

Problem Definition | Systems Design | Preliminary Detailed Design | Detailed Design

Build & Test Prep | Subsystem Build & Test | Integrated System Build & Test | Integrated System Build & Test with Customer Demo | Customer Handoff & Final Project Documentation