There are several approaches to provide for additional flexibility, which would reduce the risk inherent in fixing Roman’s observing plan early.
- If instrument anomalies are identified after Roman has been commissioned and characterized at L2, an external committee of scientists could conduct a review to determine if its on-orbit performance requires adjustments to the observing-time allocations. If changes are deemed necessary, the committee would recommend adjustments to the observing times, balancing GA and CCS time. Such adjustments would have to be made rapidly, and this could be facilitated by having a substantial overlap in membership between the committee and the STAC. It is conceivable that some of Roman’s current science objectives might not be able to be met, in which case the review committee may decide to open the corresponding time to competition.
Contingency plans for addressing the most likely changes to mission performance could be prepared by the project and large-survey teams well before launch. Having this material clearly defined by the project teams before launch will help with the post-commissioning review.
Rescheduling Roman’s observing plan, should it be needed, requires additional resources, which the project should reserve until after commissioning.
- The CAA suggests that independent, vigorous reviews of Roman observational projects be conducted as needed—for example, annually—during Roman mission operations. These will ensure that the CCS and GA projects are on track toward accomplishing their science goals, considering the potentially evolving Roman mission performance. The reviews also provide opportunities to update mission objectives given the changing science landscape and/or a successful demonstration of the coronagraph. For projects that are found to be unable to accomplish their key science goals within the time allotted, modification according to the principles outlined in point 1 above should be considered.