Quick Help for Using ARK/RPS
This help file is intended to give a quick introduction to those who are
not familiar with the ARK Remote Proposal System, or ARK/RPS. It is
short, so please read it completely.
A detailed manual on how to use
ARK is available. There is also an ARK
FAQ. RPS-specific FAQs are answered below.
Quick, generic, step-by-step instructions as to what you need to do:
- In order to submit your proposal to ARK/RPS, you must first
create an ARK account
and/or join the relevant RPS group.
- If you already have an ARK account, login first and select "Join
Group" from the menu next to RPS group for which you desire to submit
- If you do not already have an ARK account, enter your e-mail
address in the input field provided and click on the check box next to
the group for which you desire to submit a proposal and then click on
the Join ARK button. Check your e-mail. Within a few
minutes, you should receive an e-mail from ARK. Click on the
activation code found therein. Fill out the ARK registration form
and submit. Your ARK account should be created and you should now
be a member of the ARK group you specified earlier.
- Next, proceed to your My ARK page and
click on the group for which you desire to submit a proposal. On the
following page, click on the "Submit a new proposal" link. Fill out
the proposal form(s). Click on the Verify button to make sure you
have entered the form information correctly. Once the form verifies
successfully, you may then click on the Submit button.
- After doing so, go "back" in your web browser and then click on the
PostScript button to generate the PostScript file for your
hard-copy submission and/or upload. Alternatively, the PDF
button can be used instead if that format is preferred. (This
requirement may vary from mission to mission. Check the
- Go to the group's "Recent Activity" page. The information for the
proposal that you just submitted should be listed here. Click on the
Files button next to it, if it is present. Proceed to upload
the file(s) specified. If you have submitted your form electronically
and uploaded the required files (if applicable), then you have
successfully completed your RPS electronic submission.
The RPS user, regardless of experience, should develop
the habit of saving his/her work often. We recommend that you use the
Save button on the ARK/RPS form page periodically.
Note that the Save and Submit buttons do very different
things. The Save button downloads a text file containing the
fields and the values you entered. If for some reason your browser
crashes before you Submit, you can Reload your saved form,
for example. The Submit button submits your proposal to the
mission, effectively fulfilling the electronic submission aspect of RPS
(not including any file uploads).
The Save and Reload buttons can also be useful if you
have a large number of targets/observations. Some users find that filling
out the text file is easier or faster than filling out the web form,
especially with a large number of targets. The plain text representation
of the ARK form utilized by the ARK Save and Reload
buttons also lends itself to automation. A simple script might fill in
any number of fields for an arbitrarily large number of targets with
ease. When you're done editing the text file, just use the Reload
button to upload your changes to ARK.
Prior to the deadline, you can still Modify or Discard
any proposal you have submitted, using the group's Recent Activity
Visit the RPS browser support
page to see which browsers are supported.
Mission-specific questions should be addressed to the relevant
Guest Observer Facility (GOF) or Science Support Center (SSC) for that
Short description of each RPS form button that you may encounter:
- Add - Add or clone a specified subform.
- Add Targets - Upload a list of targets. Only found on ARK/RPS
forms that have target subforms.
- Delete - Remove a subform. You must first set the delete flag to
"Y" at the top of the subform you wish to delete.
- Feedback - This is for sending questions, comments, complaints, etc.
to the RPS Help Desk
- LaTeX - Generate the LaTeX version of your form.
- PostScript - Generate the PostScript version of your form.
- PDF - Generate the PDF version of your form.
- Reload - Reload an ARK/RPS form that was saved using the
Save button. (Note: Do not use this button to reload HTML files.
Use your browser's file opening mechanism for that.)
- Save - Save the values you entered in the form boxes to a text
file which can be Reloaded later.
- Submit - Submit the electronic version to the proposal database.
The Submit button will not appear until after the form has been
- Verify - Checks the form for any errors or inconsistencies.
Q: Where is the Submit button? I
am in the process of filling out the RPS forms, but I don't see a
Submit button anywhere.
You need to click on the Verify button first. After
you successfully Verify the contents of your form with zero
errors, the Submit button will appear automatically. If there are
any errors detected when you Verify, the Submit button will
not appear, and you will need to correct the errors and re-Verify
before you can Submit.
Q: Where do I upload my scientific
justification PDF? I don't see a place for it in the RPS forms.
A button to Upload your PDF will appear immediately
after you successfully Submit your RPS forms.
Alternatively, if you previously submitted your RPS form, go to your
Recent Activity page for the RPS group. (You can find a link to the
appropriate Recent Activity page on your My ARK
page.) Summary information for the proposal that you previously submitted
should be listed here, indicating that you have successfully submitted
your RPS proposal forms. If the mission requires file(s) to be uploaded
in order to complete your electronic proposal submission, there will be a
Files button next to the proposal you submitted. Click on that
button. Then, click on the Upload button on the following page and
follow the subsequent instructions. After you have successfully uploaded
the file(s) that the mission requires, you will have completed your RPS
Q: Is it possible to start filling out
the RPS forms and then finish later?
Yes. There are two ways. If you can use the ARK Save
button, ARK will download a plain text file (with a file name that is
something like mission_form.txt). You can then
Reload that file later and continue filling out the forms from the
point at which you saved. The other way is to Submit your form. In
order to do that, you need to successfully Verify your form first.
If you are able to submit your form, however, you can use the
Modify button next to your proposal on your Recent Activity page
to make changes or additions.
Q: How do I reload a saved form using
the ARK/RPS web interface?
A form saved using the ARK Save button may be
reloaded by using the Reload button on the RPS group's form page.
You may then resume filling out the form, submit it, etc.
Q: Why does the ARK Save button save
the form to a plain text file? In the old RPS web interface, the
Save button saved the form to an HTML file. Why was this changed?
I really want to save to HTML. How do I do that?
We think the plain text file has several advantages over the
HTML file that the old RPS web interface utilized. The text file is smaller
than the HTML file, since it contains only the form information and the
values that you entered, so it will not take up as much space on your
hard drive. The text file can also be used in other ways.
You can edit it more easily outside of your web browser, for example.
Many RPS users have specifically stated a preference for being able to do
just that. The plain text format is also compatible with the
ARK E-mail Server, allowing
interoperability between the web and e-mail interfaces. The plain text
file format is more robust with regard to changes to the form from one
proposal cycle to the next.
Every web browser supported by ARK
has a mechanism for saving the web page you are looking at to a HTML
file. Just use the "Save As..." or "Save Page As..." item from your web
browser's File menu. We strongly advise you to Verify the form
before saving it in this fashion. As you can see, no functionality has
been lost here. If you truly need or desire to save the form to HTML, you
still can. In order to open a saved HTML file, use the "Open File..."
item from your web browser's File menu. Just make sure you are logged in
to ARK first. Do not use the Reload button to open saved HTML
files. The ARK Reload button only works with files saved using the
ARK Save button.
Q: My Co-Investigator's
institution is not listed. What should I do?
Please check the List of
Institutions Recognized by RPS and look for the official name of the
institution. Our preference is to refer to an institution by its name in
its native languages unless that name cannot be represented by 7-bit
ASCII characters. If you are sure your Co-I's institution is not among
those listed, please contact the
Help Desk and request that it be added to the list. Such requests are
typically answered within 24 hours, excluding weekends and U.S. Federal
Q: My Co-Investigator's country is
not listed. What should I do?
Just to clarify, the form is asking for the country where
your Co-I's institution is located, not your Co-I's country of
citizenship. If the country is not listed, please contact us at the
Desk and request that it be added to the list. Such requests are
typically answered within 24 hours, excluding weekends and U.S. Federal
holidays. Please submit such requests well in advance of the relevant
proposal submission deadline.
Q: How do I know if I have successfully
submitted my proposal or not? Can I get some kind of confirmation of my
If you see your proposal listed on the Recent Activity page
for the mission/group to which you are proposing, then we have your
proposal. What you see is what we get. If your submission requires any
file uploads, there will be a "num_uploads" column. If you've uploaded
the correct number of files, the background color of that table cell will
be green, indicating you have fulfilled the file uploads requirement. If
you desire another means of confirmation, you might want to activate the
"Please send an e-mail receipt to me for every data record I submit"
checkbox at the bottom of your ARK
profile page and then submit to save this change. Now, whenever you
submit or modify a proposal or upload a file, you will receive an e-mail
detailing the submission. This e-mail confirmation is unnecessary, but it
can be a convenient record of your submission. Feel free to activate this
feature if it makes you more comfortable with the submission
Q: I've already submitted my proposal,
but I just noticed that I entered an incorrect value into the RPS form.
What should I do?
Go to the Recent Activity page for the RPS group and click on
the Modify button next to the proposal you wish to change. After
you make the change to the proposal on the form page, Verify and
re-Submit your proposal.
Q: I've already submitted my proposal and
uploaded my PostScript or PDF file(s), as required, but I noticed an
error in my scientific justification PostScript file. What should I
You should re-upload the corrected file(s). Go to the Recent
Activity page for the ARK/RPS group and click on the Files
button next to the submitted proposal. Next, click on the Replace
button next to the uploaded file you wish to re-upload.
Q: May I use LaTeX mark-ups in the
We would prefer that you do not use LaTeX mark-ups in your
abstract. The abstracts for accepted proposals are subsequently
distributed in plain text format. They are also ingested into the
HEASARC Browse database, so that they can be
easily searched. LaTeX code is inappropriate for such
Q: Can I enter characters with accent
marks or other diacritical marks into an ARK/RPS form?
No, unfortunately, you cannot. The ARK/RPS system only
recognizes the standard 7-bit ASCII character set. If you do enter ISO
8859-1 (Latin-1) or Unicode characters (UTF-8 or UTF-16), for example,
and submit the form, the characters will be stripped or possibly
transformed into some form unrecognizable from what you
Q: How do I concatenate two or more PDFs into a
single PDF in order to satisfy the file upload requirement for proposal
Some missions may require that a single PDF be uploaded as a
requirement for a successful proposal submission. If you have multiple
documents that need to be combined in order to create a single PDF, here
are some suggestions: First, if the documents are not already in PDF
format, it's best to combine them in some word processor first before
generating your PDF. If that's not possible, then you will need to use
some software to concatenate PDFs. There are many free software packages
available for doing this. We recommend doing a web search for the latest
information, but here are some possibilities:
We make no endorsement of the above software; these are simply some tools
that we found in our web searches.
Q: How do I subscribe to the ARK/RPS calendar in
my favorite calendar application in order to stay informed of upcoming
proposal submission deadlines?
Instructions for Apple iCal, Microsoft Outlook, and Evolution users:
• Simply click on the following link:
Instructions for Google Calendar:
• Refer to Google's instructions. Copy and paste the following URL for the calendar:
Instructions for Mozilla Sunbird users:
- Select "Subscribe to Remote Calendar..." from the File menu.
- Select the "On the Network" radio button and then click on the
- Copy the following URL and paste it into the "Location" box and
then click the "Next" button:
- Enter "ARK/RPS" into the "Name" field and modify the color (if
desired). Then, click the "Next" and "Finish" buttons.
Please refer to the ARK FAQ for answers
to general questions about ARK.