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Center Independent Research & Development: GSFC IRAD

Simulation Environment for CubeSat Hardware-In-The-Loop Test Bed

Completed Technology Project

Project Introduction

The purpose of this IRAD is to integrate a small but full-featured attitude simulation application, 42 (a full-featured, simulation tool for analysis and visualization of spacecraft attitude and orbit dynamics), with CubeSat flight software to enable hardware-in-the-loop (HITL) testing.

The purpose of this IRAD is to integrate a compact but full-featured attitude simulation application, 42, with CubeSat flight software to enable hardware-in-the-loop (HITL) testing.  We propose to investigate two possible implementations: running 42 on a GSE computer, as is traditional, or installing and running 42 on the flight processor itself.  In either case, 42 will copy the GNC actuator commands, model the attitude and orbit dynamics and the space environment, and supply sensor measurement signals back to the GNC flight software, enabling closed-loop testing of the GNC flight software.  Hardware interfaces may be switched on or overwritten individually or collectively, supporting software-in-the-loop, hardware-in-the-loop, and end-to-end phasing (polarity) testing.  The benefit of running on the flight processor is that you completely sidestep complicated inter-processor and synchronization concerns; in this implementation, 42 would be removed or disabled before flight. This project will provide the capability to test flight software and hardware (including sensors, actuators, power systems, ect...) within a simulated on-orbit environment.

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A final report document may be available for this project. If you would like to request it, please contact us.

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