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RXTE Cycle 14 "Dear Colleague" Letter RXTE

Below is the "Dear Colleague" letter released by NASA HQ, soliciting proposals for RXTE Cycle 14. For more information on Cycle 14, see the RXTE Cycle 14 Information Web page.

Dr. Ilana Harrus
Program Executive and Program Scientist for RXTE
Astrophysics Division, NASA HQ
202.358.1250 (voice)

June 18, 2009

Dear Colleague,

This letter is to call your attention to the opportunity to propose investigations requesting observing time on NASA's Rossi X-ray Timing Explorer (RXTE). NASA headquarters has approved continued operations of RXTE through September 2010, and we need to produce an observing plan covering this period. In light of the reduced funding for RXTE during Fiscal Year 2010, and in consultation with the RXTE Users' Group, we are issuing the present call ("Cycle 14") for observing proposals. Cycle 14 will be implemented in the same manner as Cycle 13.

Public Data

For Cycle 14 the data from all new observations will be immediately public, and the two categories of observing programs defined for Cycle 13, the "Core" and "Open-Time" programs have been kept. Only Open-Time programs will require proposal submission. The Open-Time program solicits proposals for the time frame from January 1 through September 2010. We emphasize that no funding to support guest investigations is available for Cycle 14.

Core Program

The Core Program was first proposed to the 2008 Senior Review, and became part of the observing plan for Cycle 13. It comprises observations uniquely suited to RXTE and in which RXTE has taken a lead role in the past. In general, observations of the type included within the Core Program are widely recognized to be of the highest priority for the mission, having passed a peer review in many successive observing cycles. A description and list of Core Program observations planned to be carried out during Cycle 14 can be found at:


Please note that all of the data from the Core Program is made public immediately upon processing. Proposal submission is not required for observations in this category.

Open-Time Program

The purpose of the Open-Time Program is to make RXTE observing time available to the international science community for science investigations not included in the Core Program. To request such observations, investigators must submit a short proposal and associated target forms as described below.

In order to maintain an innovative science program, this announcement solicits observing proposals for new science investigations or extensions of existing programs not covered by the Core Program. Such proposals may also involve coordinated RXTE observations of targets with other space-based and/or ground-based facilities. We emphasize that Open-Time proposals should not duplicate observations in the Core Program.


Proposers may submit requests for the observing period covering January 1 through September 30, 2010. Proposals for Open-Time observations must be submitted via HEASARC's Remote Proposal System (ARK/RPS):


The proposal must consist of the following:

  • Cover Page - containing basic information about the proposal
  • General Page - containing co-investigator information
  • Target Forms - containing target request information and instrument configurations
  • Scientific Justification and Feasibility

Proposals should establish the science case briefly, and describe how RXTE's unique capabilities will be exploited.

Proposals must be submitted electronically using ARK/RPS and received by Thursday, August 13, 2009 (17:00 EDT).

The scientific justification and feasibility are limited to one page, to be uploaded as a pdf file. Proposals must use a 10pt font or larger.

Evaluation Criteria

Cycle 14 proposals will be evaluated using the following criteria:

  • The suitability of using the RXTE observatory and data products for the proposed investigation
  • The degree to which the investigation uses RXTE's unique capabilities
  • The feasibility of accomplishing the objectives of the investigation within the time, telemetry, and scheduling constraints
  • The feasibility of the proposed analysis techniques

This program is relevant to the astrophysics strategic goals and subgoals in NASA's Strategic Plan. Proposals that are relevant to this program are, by definition, relevant to NASA.

Review and Selection

A peer review committee will be convened to evaluate proposals for Open-Time investigations, including recommendations concerning the approved observing targets and times.

Prospective proposers can get more information from the RXTE Guest Observer Facility's Web page:


Any additional questions should be addressed to the XTE Help Desk via their feedback form:


Ilana Harrus
Program Executive and Program Scientist for RXTE

If you have a question about RXTE, please send email to one of our help desks.

This page is maintained by the RXTE GOF and was last modified on Thursday, 18-Jun-2009 14:45:30 EDT.