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Last modified: 29 December 2016


Using RPS to Prepare and Submit a Chandra Proposal

Proposer Threads (Cycle 19)


1. Introduction

The Call for Proposals includes information about what is required in your Chandra proposal. There are several resources available to help you gather all the information you need. Please refer to the proposer pages for links to these resources. Proposals must be submitted electronically. This thread serves to help you fill out the Remote Proposal Submission (RPS) forms and submit your proposal.

There is a web version of RPS and an email server. Either version may be used to submit the proposal forms and justification. The email server is particularly useful when you have a large number of targets in a proposal.

RPS is stateless, so nothing is done with the information you enter until you use one of the action buttons at the top of the RPS page. We advise using the Save button frequently to avoid losing your work. To Reload your information from a saved version, you must save the forms as html.

When you are in RPS, you can obtain an explanation of a field by clicking on its link. There is also a general RPS help page available; the link is at the top of the RPS page.

RPS is available from the Proposer section of the CXC web pages. Or you can go directly to the Chandra RPS page at

For more information and to obtain a LaTeX template for your science justification, please see

2. Filling in RPS Proposal Forms

Web version

When you are ready to complete and submit your proposal, the web version of RPS is located at

There are three sections of the RPS that you need to fill out: the Cover Page, the General Form, and, for observing proposals, the Target Form (which may consist of one or more separate target forms). You can display and hide these forms by clicking the blue triangle to the left of the form name.

Cover Page

The Cover Page contains your personal information (name, address, etc.) and an overview of your proposal. Expand the form and either type or select the information appropriate to your situation in each field.

General Form

The General Form contains information about co-investigators and institute endorsement.

Target Form

The Target Form is not required for Theory or Archive proposals.

The Target Form contains information about each proposed target. Detailed information about instrument parameters and constraints is required. You will need to fill out one form per target.

  • Adding/Deleting Targets

    If there is more than one target in your proposal, click "Add Target" at the top or bottom of the page. You will be given the option of cloning an existing target form or adding a blank target form to your proposal. Individual targets' forms appear in RPS as new items in the expanded Target Form.

    If you wish to remove a target from the proposal, you will need to expand the target and indicate "Y" as the answer to "Do you want to delete this targets", which is the first question on each target form. Then use the "Delete Target" button to remove any targets with this setting.

  • Cloning Targets

    If you have a target to input that is similar to an existing target in your Target Form, then you can clone the existing target within the "Add Target" tool. Simply indicate the existing target number that you want cloned and indicate how many copies you want to generate.

    Additionally, when you clone a target, you can use the tool to change the RA, Dec, Count Rate, Observing Time, and Target Name for each cloned form. Simply input one comma-separated line per cloned target that you want to change.

  • Renumbering Targets

    If you want to renumber your targets, you should first expand the target form to be corrected and indicate which "Target Number" it belongs to, If you have deleted targets and wish to fill in any gaps left by removed targets, you can use the "Renumber Targets" button. Note that this will not reorder the forms in the html, even if you have changed target numbers within the individual target forms.

  • Target Name/Coordinate Check

    The Target Name/Coord button provides the results of the SIMBAD/NED coordinate check for each target name entered in the RPS form. This should be run before submitting any proposal in order to verify that you have entered the correct coordinates for your target(s).

  • Checking Constraints

    For constrained observations, the number and classification of constraints can be calculated using the "Constraints/Slewtax" tool, accessible by button from the top and bottom of the page. Note that additional constraints specified in the Remarks section cannot be evaluated by this tool, so any classifications should be taken as estimates. The calculator will also assess the additional slew time required for each pointing, which contributes to the total time for the proposal. For more information about constrained observations, consult the POG.

  • Generating RPS Email Form

    If you wish to continue working on your proposal using the RPS Email option, you can take existing work done in the web version and have RPS convert it to the necessary format for email submission. Use the "RPS Email" button and, when prompted, specify where you want to save the resulting file.

Email server

To obtain a blank form to fill out, send a plain text email to with the following in the body:


If you want the full help file, send:


Since many modern editors and mailers automatically format plain text, we suggest proposers use basic linux/unix text editors such as vi or emacs. In addition, it helps to use linux command-line mail. For example:

mail < rps.txt

where rps.txt is the text file containing the RPS commands. Users should contact the CXC via HelpDesk with any problems that may occur.

For the most up-to-date instructions for using the email server, it is recommended that you send your own message to RPS.

3. Submit the Proposal Electronically

Web version

Form Verification - After entering all the proposal information into the forms, you need to verify their completeness and accuracy. To do this, click "Verify" at the top or bottom of the page. Once it has been verified without errors, click the "Save" button to save the verified proposal to a local disk.

LaTeX Generation - Use the "LaTeX" button to create a LaTeX file of the verified proposal. This is for your own use.

PDF Generation - Use the "PDF" button to create a pdf file of the verified proposal. This is for your own use.

Electronic Submission - The proposal forms, science justification, previous Chandra observation page, and optional CV are submitted sequentially. After the forms are verified, the "Submit" button will become active. Click "Submit" only once per proposal to submit the completed forms (Cover Page, General Form and Target form(s)) to the CXC.

After you submit, RPS will confirm that the proposal forms have been received and will have assigned a number to your proposal.

Click "Upload Science Justification" and RPS will ask for the file names of your Science Justification, Previous Chandra Observation page, and optional CV. Make sure you are uploading PDF files! Instructions for creating pdf from latex can be found from the proposer pages. Type the file names in the fields provided (or browse for the files) and click "Submit." If you have already correctly submitted your forms, your proposal is complete. You should receive a confirmation notice.

Email server

Form Verification - After you enter all of the necessary values into the form, you can email this file to the server for verification. Verification will identify required fields with missing values and incorrect values. The form will be sent back to you indicating any errors detected. All error messages are preceded with a ^ to make it easier for users to search for them.

LaTeX Generation - Mail your form to the server with the LaTeX option specified. The email server will return a LaTeX file of the verified proposal for your use.

Electronic Submission - Once you have verified the form without any errors, you should submit the form to the mission's proposal database. When you submit, a final verification will be performed. If no errors are found, the form will be e-mailed to the appropriate database address for that project. If errors were detected, the form is returned with the errors flagged.

The scientific justification is electronically submitted using ftp. Directions can be found in the email from, or at

4. What to do if You Discover a Mistake in Your Proposal

If the mistake is discovered before the deadline, please go through the submission process again and set the flag located at the top of the cover page:

Does this replace a previously submitted proposal for the current cycle?
select "yes", and give the number of the proposal to be discarded.

It is possible to correct minor errors in forms after the proposal deadline, especially if the item is critical to the success of the potential observation, e.g. incorrect coordinates. Please inform the CDO as soon as possible (via HelpDesk ) after the mistake is discovered. Late changes in the Science Justification are not allowed. However, some typographical or numerical errors can be misleading, and corrections of such nature can be sent to the CDO in a letter of explanation. If appropriate, this letter will be included in material sent to the Peer Review. Note that a long list of corrections to a careless submission cannot be accepted since this would be de facto a late-proposal submission.

Last modified: 29 December 2016
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