Sun-Synchronous Satellite Simulator : An OpenModelica simulator
Santos Dinis, Gustavo Emanuel (2017)
Santos Dinis, Gustavo Emanuel
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Widely used in Aerospace industries, simulators create a virtual environment suitable of verifying and validating mission facts and figures without leaving the Earth’s atmosphere. With help from such simulators, it is possible to test physics principles, satellite equipment and software, inject and detect failures on the system, even before flight, saving funds and resources from the mission. The aims of this study were to develop a simulator for a Sun-synchronous satellite where, given a start date and mission parameters, orbits for the Sun, Moon and Earth, in addition to the satellite actuation and attitude data were calculated. Subsequent to this, satellite sensors generate data perceived from the surrounding environment, data that are used to adjust the satellite attitude through means of actuators. The modeling process involved an analysis of laws of planetary motion as well as satellites motion and on-board equipment procedures. As result, an OpenModelica simulation environment capable of generating astronomical and satellite equipment data was created. The results attained from the simulator were then analyzed against data from known sources and tools such as General Mission Analysis Tool, developed by NASA, public and private contributors. Such data reveal that the calculated orbits are accurate to an extent of less than 500 km. Similarly, the satellite attitude and equipment presented reliable data although improvements to actuation and to satellite dynamic and kinematic equations were needed. This work resulted in a dependable simulator capable of solving the inputs specified for the mission into meaningful data ready to be analyzed.