With the start of this MSIP-funded open-access, the U.S. astronomical community becomes a member of LCO's Science Collaboration with guaranteed time on the LCO network. Like other such partners - Australian National University, South African Astronomical Observatory, the Chilean astronomical communty, University of Hawaii, University of Texas at Austin, St. Andrews University, the Israeli consortium I-CORE, the National Astronomical Observatory of China, and LCO itself - the U.S. community will run its own time allocation process each semester (through NOAO), and NOAO will communicate to LCO the proposed projects that have been awarded time. The policies governing who can apply for time through each partner's allocation process are theirs to decide. Thus, questions about these policies for the U.S. open-access time should be directed to NOAO.
In addition, the LCO Science Collaboration participates in a Key Project program to identify large-scale, high-impact projects that highlight the unique capabilities of the LCO network. All partners (including the U.S. community) are invited to propose these projects through an annual call from LCO. LCO runs the TAC review for these proposals and provides the network observing time (though partners are encouraged to supplement the time allocated to the successful key projects through their own allocation processes).
Approximately 1200 hours of 1-m time and 220 hours of 2-m time will be available to the U.S. community per semester via the Open Access Program. Time is charged as it is used, including observation overhead, but not weather or technical downtime.
The NOAO TAC will evaluate US community proposals for LCO Open Access time, with LCO staff providing feedback on the technical feasibility at the TAC's request. NOAO will notify applicants of the outcome of their proposals, and forward the details of successful proposal to LCO. Successful PIs will then be invited to create accounts on the LCO system, where LCO will initialize their projects and add the allocated time to them.