Figure 5: The distribution over Keck's instrumental capabilities of the TSIP observing time. Instrument descriptions are available at
TSIP has enabled Keck to develop innovative instrumentation and to offer it to the community, which would not have been possible without TSIP support. Based on the positive benefit to Keck Observatory, to the broad U.S. user community, and also to other private observatories, we urge the continuation and expansion of the TSIP program.
The TSIP program has not had uniform funding over time. For example, there was not a TSIP call for proposals in 2008, and as of this writing, TSIP has not been authorized to accept proposals in 2009. A stable TSIP program is critical to enable the development of major, new instrumental capabilities in the U.S. system. TSIP stability is also important for long-range budget and workforce planning at the independent observatories. Stability is perhaps even more important for the community seeking a consistent opportunity to propose for observing nights at non-federal observatories. We urge stable TSIP funding and regular TSIP proposal opportunities.
The ALTAIR committee recently made the following major recommendation: “To develop and expand the large telescope system, we recommend that NSF increase the funding, to $10M per year, for an NOAO-led TSIP or TSIP-like program in order to increase the open access time available on non-federal facilities.” The implementation of this recommendation would help Keck Observatory achieve the role to which it aspires in developing science-driven advanced