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Mathworks speeds up GNC development for Swedish Space

Posted: 09 Nov 2010 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:software? model-based design? design? control?

MathWorks reports the Swedish Space Corp. (SSC) has licensed its model-based design (MBD) tools to develop advanced autonomous formation flying software, and that the tools enabled SSC to cut the development time for its Prisma project for testing and validating its guidance, navigation and control (GNC) system.

MathWork's tools for MBD are meant to design, simulate and implement the control system. Instead of relying on physical prototypes and textual specifications, MBD uses a system model as an executable specification throughout development. It supports system- and component-level design and simulation, automatic code generation, and continuous test and verification.

SSC said it has deployed MBD with MATLAB and Simulink to help model and simulate the GNC system, perform real-time closed-loop simulations, and generate production flight code. The Prisma project is led by the SSC in collaboration with the French and German space agencies and the Technical University of Denmark.

The Prisma project uses two satellites, Mango and Tango, to demonstrate autonomous formation flying and autonomous rendezvous and proximity operations.

SSC engineers required new GNC algorithms to take advantage of the advanced sensors and propulsion systems of the satellites. They used MATLAB, Simulink, and Stateflow to develop GNC algorithms, run and verify system-level closed-loop simulations in real-time, and generate flight code for both satellites. To rehearse actual mission flight operations and verify flight command sequences, SSC ran simulations against plant model on xPC Target. The team also used MATLAB Compiler to build standalone applications

for displaying and analyzing satellite flight data.

"Traditionally, control engineers specify requirements using text and diagrams and someone else codes the software," commented Ron Noteborn, lead engineer at SSC. "With Model-Based Design, we eliminate that step. We work with models from concept to implementation, and we have the automatically

generated code flying in space."

Engineers also reused the SMART-1 satellite attitude control models and were able to run tests very early on and reuse those same tests throughout development of the Prisma project. This approach helped to cut development time.

- Anne-Francoise Pele
EE Times

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