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RXTE Information - Cycle 8 Guest Observer Program RXTE

(Materials below are those for the Stage 1 proposal submission; Stage 1 is now closed, and this information is merely here for purposes of reference.

The schedule for RXTE Cycle 8 is as follows:

  • Release Date - August 23, 2002
  • ( Due Date for Notices of Intent - September 23, 2002 - passed - but you may still propose for RXTE in this round even if an NOI was not submitted - see below )
  • Due Date for Proposal Submission - November 21, 2002
  • Proposal Peer Review - January, 2003
  • Start of Cycle 8 observations - on or around March 1, 2003
The solicitation for observing proposals for RXTE Cycle 8 has been released as an Amendment to NASA Research Announcement NRA 02-OSS-01, "Research Opportunities in Space Science - 2002", entitled "Rossi X-ray Timing Explorer Guest Observer Program - Cycle 8." This Announcement solicits proposals for participation in the NASA OSS program to acquire and analyze scientific data from the RXTE X-ray Observatory, for observations to be carried out in the interval beginning around March 1, 2003, and lasting for twelve months.

For Cycles 4-7, funding for analysis and interpretation of new as well as archival RXTE data has been through the NASA Astrophysics Data Program (ADP). Guest Investigator funding has been reestablished for RXTE Cycle 8. The Cycle 8 Peer Review will thus be a two-stage process, similar to the process used previously for RXTE Cycles 1-4. In the first stage, the scientific and technical merits of submitted proposals will be assessed. The PIs of proposals that are successful at Stage 1 will be invited to submit budget requests. These budgets will be assessed in the Stage 2 review.

In addition, and new for Cycle 8: NASA HQ has requested that proposers

  • submit a Notice of Intent for each proposal, and
  • submit an additional Cover Page for each proposal

Notices of Intent were due on or before September 23, 2002. The additional Cover Page/Proposal Summary is due at the time of submission of the full proposal, on or before November 21, 2002.

Further details on Notices of Intent and Cover Page can be found in the text of the ROSS-2002 Amendment, in Chapter 3.1 of the NASA HQ NRA Proposers Guidebook and in Appendices E.1-E.3 of the Guidebook.

*** Note that while Notices of Intent were strongly encouraged, they are not mandatory. The RXTE GOF and NASA HQ will not reject proposals for which no corresponding NOI has been received, nor will such proposals be at a disadvantage in the Peer Review. ***

However, proposers who will be submitting a budget request in Stage 2 must submit the NASA HQ cover page.

Aside from these wrinkles, very little has changed. Electronic submission of forms will still be achieved using RPS. The content of these forms is unchanged. Scientific justifications will also be submitted electronically using the same submission process inaugurated last year for Cycle 7.

As always, any questions about this process should be directed to the the RXTE Guest Observer Facility.

Further Information

Software, response matrices for Cycle 8 simulations

  • Response matrices and PHA files for simulations are available via anonymous FTP at legacy.gsfc.nasa.gov in the directory xte/nra/responses.

  • The proposal aids PIMMS, viewing, recommd, hextemporize and hexterock are available on the web or via anonymous FTP at legacy.gsfc.nasa.gov in the directory xte/nra/software.

    Fully Electronic Proposal Submission for RXTE Cycle 8


    NO hardcopies need be sent by postal mail for participation in this Cycle. RPS submission of the cover forms is still required. In addition, the cover forms and scientific justifications should be submitted electronically as PostScript files.

    To submit electronically, PIs should:

    1. Enter their proposal data into RPS, saving often, and using the "Verify" button to perform final checks before submission. (This step is identical to previous RXTE cycles.)

    2. Submit the forms using the 'Submit' button in RPS.

    3. Wait (seconds-minutes) for the RPS acknowledgment, which will contain a 3-digit proposal submission number.

    4. Create a PostScript file of the forms, using the 'LaTeX' or 'PostScript' buttons within in RPS.

    5. Upload two (2) PostScript files per proposal, via RPS, one containing the forms, the other the Scientific Justification, technical feasibility information, and status of previous RXTE observations ("track record"), as specified in the Announcement and Appendices - particularly Section C.2.2. Full instructions on how to upload can be found in RPS. The two files must be named
      • nnn_flast_f.ps

      • nnn_flast_sj.ps


      • nnn is the 3-digit proposal submission number supplied by RPS;

      • flast is the first initial and last name of the PI;

      • _f is the forms;

      • _sj is the scientific justification;

      e.g.: 017_asmale_f.ps, 017_asmale_sj.ps

    6. Wait (seconds-minutes) for a second RPS acknowledgment, confirming receipt and completion of the electronic submission process.


    • When using RPS, remember to frequently save the html file containing your form entries. Files you're working on can be saved to your hard disk, and reloaded from there, with the RPS 'Save' and 'Reload' buttons.

    • If electronic submission is infeasible for you, please contact the RXTE Guest Observer Facility to make alternative arrangements.

    • PIs at non-US locations should prepare the PostScript files for their Scientific Justifications using US paper sizes, or risk truncation of their text when the GOF prints out copies of the proposals for the Peer Reviewers. In LaTeX, paper sizes can be adjusted using

      or similar.

    Other Important Features of Cycle 8

    Here, we list other factors that potential RXTE proposers should be aware of. This section is basically unchanged from the previous Cycles.

    If you'd like to be a Peer Reviewer ....

    The RXTE Cycle 8 Peer Review will take place in early 2003. The exact location and dates have not yet been finalized.

    Reviewers must have a PhD at the time of the Peer Review.

    If you would like to be considered as a reviewer, please email Mike Arida at peer_review@rosserv.gsfc.nasa.gov.

    RXTE Instrument Configurations: the easy route

    For all sources with total PCA count rates less than 1200/s (including all extragalactic observations) and HEXTE count rates less than 80/s, the SOC strongly recommends that proposers use the following set of instrument configurations:

        PCA EA1:           Standard1
        PCA EA2:           Standard2
        PCA EA3:           GoodXenon1_2s
        PCA EA4:           GoodXenon2_2s
        PCA EA5:           Idle
        PCA EA6:           Idle
        HEXTE Cluster A:   E_8us_256_DX1f
        HEXTE Cluster B:   E_8us_256_DX1f

    Note that RPS does not allow one to leave an EA unused. In this case one has to explicitly specify "Idle".

    Use defaults for all other HEXTE parameters.

    Note that this advice does not relieve the proposer from the obligation of providing estimates for the expected event count rates.

    In these cases there is no need to run recommd or elaborately justify the chosen configurations.

    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 Wednesday, 25-Oct-2006 12:28:50 EDT.