Flying Laptop
Project Management, Professor of Satellite Technology

Prof. Dr.-Ing. Sabine Klinkner

Prof. Klinkner

Annegret Möller

Institut für Raumfahrtsysteme
Pfaffenwaldring 29
70569 Stuttgart


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System Simulation and Verification

A spacecraft simulation environment with a complete command chain has been established at the Institute of Space Systems. It consists of an on-board computer, various development boards, a real-time spacecraft simulator, a mission control system and a flight/test-procedure execution engine. Furthermore a 3D visualization facility is included. The small satellite FLP is the first satellite simulated in this environment, which enables control algorithms and on-board software testing before spacecraft hardware is available. Also, hardware-in-the-loop tests are performed with the set-up. The elements of this command chain are all applied industrial systems, provided by market-leading companies. Both students and industrial partners benefit from this cooperation. Students get trained to use real industrial tools that they will use later in their careers and space industry gains improved access to qualified graduates. The illustration outlines the general architecture of the type of infrastructure used.


The real-time simulator is the heart of this environment and has been sponsored by Airbus DS. The on-board software is either tested on an FPGA development board or an engineering model of the real on-board computer. Both the simulator and the on-board software on the development board can be commanded by an ESA mission control system, SCOS-2000. This type of system will later be used in the ground station of the institute to command the satellite in orbit. Spacecraft test and later flight procedures can be edited and automatically executed by means of the procedure execution engine MOIS. This system has been provided by Rhea and enables test automation. Finally the spacecraft is visualized as a 3D object representing its current simulated flight conditions. The open-source software Celestia is used for this purpose.


Tests showed that the spacecraft simulation environment turns out to be very precise compared to similar implementations in Matlab. Thesis topics regarding real-time simulation and software verifiaction are available. Please contact Nico Bucher for further information.


System Simulation Software:

Aonix Ameos

All equipment models are written in C++ in the system simulation. Because all models share a common framework a code generator is used to create raw code. In order to generate equipment-specific variables and methods, too, they are defined in UML class diagrams which are also involved in code generation. The UML class diagrams can be created and edited with the software Ameos which is provided by Aonix.


Eclipse Galileo

The C++ source files created with the code generator can be edited using the integrated development environment Eclipse Galileo. They are filled with algorithms which model the functional performance of the equipment. Eclipse is a comfortable application for developing, compiling, debugging and displaying source code. It provides a graphical user interface and allows version management with CVS and SVN which is applied in the software development.



SCOS-2000 is applied to command the simulator and the connected on-board software. It allows comfortable live displays of telemetry during a simulation run. This mission control system was developed by ESA. It will also be applied in order to command the real satellite in space. SCOS-2000 can be connected both to the simulator and to the connected on-board software via an in-house developed Proxy process.



For automated operation of the mission control system the software MOIS (Manufacturing and Operations Information System) developed by Rhea is applied. It enables the creation of a procedure logic and its completion with telecommands and telemetry imported from SCOS-2000. The test procedures can also be executed with MOIS. As MOIS also allows to respond to telemetry, it can replace the operator during simulation runs.



In order to depict position and attitude of the simulated satellite not only with graphs created in SCOS-2000, the 3D software Celestia is used. By converting the corresponding CATIA model and importing it into Celestia the satellite can be displayed in its simulated attitude and position. This is enabled by supplying Celestia with specific parameters of the simulator. By this means the application allows a live 3D visualization.