Integrated High-Fidelity Planetary Mission Simulators: A Toolkit for Fidelity Evaluation
Integrated High-Fidelity Planetary Mission Simulators:
A Toolkit for Fidelity Evaluation
Department of Architecture
Chalmers University of Technology
Future missions to deep space or other planets will rely heavily on Planetary Mission Simulators. Simulators will be used to replicate the experience and conditions of such missions as faithfully as possible within terrestrial constraints. Past simulators have largely been partial simulators. They have chosen, perhaps because of complexity, time and cost, to reproduce only a subset of a complete mission. Thus, there exists neither enough literature on high-fidelity integrated full mission simulators nor guidelines and templates on how to set about designing and building one.
The primary goal of this doctoral research is to start filling that void - by proposing a holistic, three-part Fidelity Evaluation Framework: (1) The first is a set of four Checklists spanning key domains of simulator design and operation -- architectural, operational, environmental, and psychological. These Checklists specify various aspects of simulator fidelity for an integrated full mission simulator. Further, for each aspect, the Checklists specify key criteria that need to be met or accounted for. Using these lists, a simulator can be designed, and then evaluated at every stage of development. (2) The second is a Baseline Mission Visualization Tool that helps represent all parts of a reference mission and their interactions using a schematic. Such a schematic lets the simulator team clearly visualize, understand, discuss and track constituent parts of an integrated simulator and their interactions during all phases of simulator design and operations. (3) The third tool facilitates studies of Trade-Offs intrinsic to simulator design and operations, such as between size and weight, and those brought about by resource constraints such as size and duration of project funds.
A broad-based, empirical approach was used in this research to cast a wide net on all aspects of the design and implementation of simulators. The case study method was the dominant methodology employed in the research. An exhaustive survey of past, present and planned simulators was used to understand the historical simulator landscape. Survey data collected from simonauts of different simulators, fidelity data from simonaut diaries, and data from European Space Agency (ESA) studies was triangulated for the first order Fidelity Evaluation Checklist, which was then refined using insights from Simulation Managers of eight different simulation campaigns. A Baseline Mission Visualization Tool and Trade-Off Studies were proposed based on a design study for an integrated full mission simulator that the author and her colleagues conducted for ESA. Ultimately, the framework itself was validated by applying it to a full mission case study simulator.
The framework developed is a toolkit for simulator system architects, simulation planners, managers, operators and controllers. It is meant not so much to be a definitive work as a useful and practical, application-centric beginning in a hitherto unexplored area. It is expected that users of this framework will further develop and improve upon these ideas based on their observations and experiences.
Language: English. ISBN 978-91-7385-197-8, ISSN 0346-718X, ISSN 1650-6340, 2009:02
Distribution: Chalmers Architecture, SE-42 96, Göteborg, Phone: +46-31-772 1000
full mission simulator
planetary mission simulator
integrated planetary mission simulator
space mission simulator
fidelity evaluation checklist
fidelity evaluation framework
chamber isolation test
full mission simulation
baseline mission visualization tool
A-salen, Chalmers Architecture, Sven Hultins gata 6, Göteborg.
Opponent: Fakultetsopponent är Dr. Lars Eliasson, Institutet för rymdfysik (IRF), Kiruna.