Volume 11, Number 1, March 1995
By John Garrett and Donald Sawyer

CCSDS Developments

Staff of the NASA/Science Office of Standards and Technologies (NOST) at NSSDC, along with personnel of Codes 500 and 700 at Goddard, have continued development of the Consultative Committee for Space Data Systems (CCSDS) World Wide Web pages. The amount of CCSDS information available from the Web, as well as the quality of its presentation, has been steadily improving over the past several months. Particular items of interest are online comment forms for returning your comments and suggestions to the CCSDS Web Developers, new listings of CCSDS members and associates, and the availability of all CCSDS in PDF. PDF is a successor to PostScript and could briefly be described as "PostScript with hyperlinks." PDF viewers are available as freeware for many platforms and pointers to the viewer software are available from theCCSDS Web. Please take a look at the resources available and send us your comments and suggestions. The CCSDS Web can be entered at

SFDU Software

Our data user's workbench software, which is based on using the CCSDS SFDU standards, is now available in beta version from the CCSDS Panel 2 home page at It runs on a SUN and supports both the creation and parsing/browsing of SFDU data products using a graphical interface. It also allows the development and saving of templates of your data products which may be recalled and populated with data at a later time. With time, we expect to have the software available for other platforms. We welcome your comments.

FITS Developments

A new FITS proposal is now circulating. The new proposal details a way to produce logical groups for FITS data header data units (HDUs) that are physically separated on one file or are located on separate files. The proposal has been developed as the result of a collaboration between NOST, HEASARC, and NCSA. One particular property of this design is that it allows the representation of HDF standard structures within FITS. Versions of the proposal in TeX/PostScript are available from "" in the " "pub/convert" directory; an HTML version may be viewed at Dr. Barry Schlesinger, Coordinator of the FITS Support Office, presented a report on the 1994 activities of the NOST FITS Support Office to the Working Group on Astronomical Software (WGAS). The FITS Office also participated in the poster session at the January 1995 meeting of the American Astronomical Society (AAS) in Tucson. The poster described the online information available by anonymous ftp from the NOST FITS.

Support Office

The NOST FITS Support Office maintains a FITS Basics and Information File. This file is available via the NSSDC anonymous ftp sites and the sci.astro.fits newsgroup. There are now two anonymous ftp sites at NSSDC. In addition to "", which is a VAX and not necessarily Mosaic-compatible, there is a separate copy at, a DEC Alpha.

New additions to the FITS Basics include information on how to obtain a FITS- to-image converter for Windows and where to find proposals for new FITS conventions. Some updates on packages already described in the information files have been added. We would like to thank the maintainers of these packages for providing the updated information and we encourage all those developing packages to keep us informed so we can pass the information on to the FITS community.

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Author:Miranda Beall
Curators: Erin Gardner and Miranda Beall
Responsible Official: Dr. Joseph H. King, Code 633
Last Revised: 04 Dec 1996 [EDG]