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orbitSIM - An Advanced 3D Visualization Training Tool for Spacecraft Operators

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  • [TOOL] orbitSIM - An Advanced 3D Visualization Training Tool for Spacecraft Operators

    Hi,

    I while ago I've posted a thread about the "ISSOrbit". The tool is used to to show the International Space Station in Earth orbit and it's current position at the public area of the German Space Operartions Center (see link below).

    Using this tool as a basis we have put lots effort into implementing more features to create a advanced visualization training tool for our spacecraft operators.
    Two of the generic features provided by our tool is the integration of:
    - TLE library; This library converts "Two Line Elements" data into a Earth Centered Inertial coordinate system
    - Spice library: NASA's Navigation and Ancillary Information Facility (NAIF) was established at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory to lead the design and implementation of the "SPICE" ancillary information system. SPICE is used throughout the life cycle of NASA planetary science missions to help scientists and engineers design missions, plan scientific observations, analyze science data and conduct various engineering functions associated with flight projects.

    Using these two libraries it is possible to visualize any object with available TLE data orbiting the Earth as well as simulating the whole solar system and any celestial body.

    The screenshots below show the GenericVisualization level
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      • #4
        Thanks to NASA's 3D models archive we were able to inlcude a interior view into the ISS, which is as well properly placed into the Earth orbit, allowing a realistic view onto the surface through the windows of the Cupola.

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        ISS Interior - USLab

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        • #5
          Another view on the ISS in Earth Orbit

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          • #6
            For all space missions telemetry parameters are used to monitor the spacecraft and its in orbit position as well as orientation. Some of those parameters are easy to understand like power generation of the solar panels. However orbital mechanics and orientation of the spacecraft are hard to imagine by simply using numeric displays and graphical line plots, especially for trainees, who are not used to work with these kind of numbers. It is challenging to understand and therefore training can be extensive to get an idea of the geometry. At this point our orbitSIM 3D visualization takes over. This software complements training by providing a high quality, interactive 3D visualization, simulating orbital mechanics by using processed TLE data.
            The objectives are to help the operator to understand the Altitude and Orbital Control Systems (AOCS) of a Satellite and how it behaves in its different modes. As an example to determine the position of the satellite among the Earth and the Sun to prevent eclipses by using the two relevant angles: β (beta) and η (eta). The β angle represents the Sun elevation. While η represents the position of the satellite in its orbit. It is computed from the projection of the sun vectors onto the satellite’s orbital plane.
            The OrbitSim tool can visualize all related functions including, the Xsat, Ysat, Zsat, yaw, roll, pitch angles as well as the relation to Sun, Moon and the Earth facing antennas. Additionally visualization for off-nominal situations and Satellite maneuvers have been implemented as well. Finally the tool is controlled by a fast and intuitive user interface offering modifications of the simulation time and several additional information panels such as line plots and a 2D ground tracking map.

            In the picture below you find a Satellite of the Galileo GNSS constellation with its current position (Xsat, Ysat, Zsat) as well as the beta and eta angles as described above. Furthermore the orientation of the solar panels towards the sun, the Ground Stations in view and the current connected Ground Station. Time control allows to fast forward or go backwards as well is jump in time.

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            • #7

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