New mission analysis tool topic of H.S. Stillwell Memorial Lecture, Sept. 23
A new open-source spacecraft simulation and mission analysis tool is the topic of an H.S. Stillwell Memorial Lecture hosted by the University of Illinois’ Department of Aerospace Engineering in The Grainger College of Engineering. The free lecture will be held on Monday, Sept. 23, at 4:00 p.m. in the auditorium on the first floor of the National Center for Supercomputing Applications at 1205 W. Clark Street, Urbana, Illinois.
The title of Schaub’s presentation is “Basilisk – Next Generation of Open Spacecraft Simulation and Mission Analysis Tool.”
Schaub said the tool is a collaborative effort between the Autonomous Vehicle Systems Lab and the Laboratory of Atmospheric and Space Physics at the University of Colorado.
“We are jointly using this tool to model both near-Earth and deep-space missions,” Schaub said. “The Basilisk framework is a modular C/C++ based simulation environment that is wrapped with Python to make it scriptable. This allows for dynamics actuators, sensor, and space environment forces to be modeled in an interchangeable manner.
“The latest efforts even allow for Python Basilisk modules to be interfaced with C/C++ modules,” Schaub said. “A message-passing interface is employed to flow the data between modular elements. This allows for the latest research results to be integrated into mission analysis simulation tools such as ground support software, hardware simulation testbeds and software-only simulation architectures.”
Schaub said a similar approach is used to develop and test flight software algorithms. He said his presentation will highlight ongoing Basilisk related research efforts between the two U of Colorado laboratories, and how this is changing how mission simulations and autonomous software is being developed.
“The result is a framework that readily allows academic astrodynamics research to become flight qualified software and flown on missions,” Schaub said.
In addition to being the Glenn L. Murphy Chair of Engineering within the Smead Aerospace Engineering Sciences Department, Schaub is the director of the Autonomous Vehicle Systems Lab—with 16 doctoral students, two research associates, five undergraduate researchers, and two affiliate researchers from the Laboratory of Atmospheric and Space Physics.
Schaub has over 20 years of research experience, four of which were at Sandia National Laboratories. His research interests are in nonlinear dynamics and control, astrodynamics, relative motion dynamics, and relative motion sensing. His work has led to more than 150 journal articles, over 250 conference publications, and a 4th edition textbook on analytical mechanics of space systems. The textbook is co-written by J.L. Junkins. It won the AIAA Summerfield Book award, as well as the University of Colorado College of Engineering and Applied Science Textbook Recognition Award.
In the last decade, Schaub has developed the emerging field of charged astrodynamics. Current research is investigating computational astrodynamics and facilitating mission support. Schaub has been the ADCS lead in the CICERO mission and the ADCS algorithm lead on the Emirate Mars Mission Hope. He has been awarded the H. Joseph Smead Fellowship, the Provosts Faculty Achievement Award, the faculty assembly award for excellence in teaching, as well as the Outstanding Faculty Advisor Award. He is an AAS and AIAA Fellow, and has won the AIAA/ASEE Atwood Educator award, as well as the AIAA Mechanics and Control of Flight award. He currently serves as the Editor In Chief for the AIAA Journal of Spacecraft and Rockets.
The H.S. Stillwell Memorial Lecture is held annually and hosted by the Dept. of Aerospace Engineering. As part of a year-long celebration of the department’s 75th anniversary, there will actually be a series of four H.S. Stillwell Memorial Lectures, this being the first.
The H.S. Stillwell Memorial Lecture was established in honor of Professor H.S. “Shel” Stillwell. In 1944, when he was 27 years old, Professor Stillwell founded the Department of Aeronautical Engineering at the University of Illinois, and served as department head for 32 years. Professor Stillwell was influential in the design of the first ramjet-powered missile and highly respected for his contributions to aerospace engineering education.