Simulation Tools

Managing and engineering a space mission is a challenge that requires solid understanding of all spacecraft subsystems and environmental parameters. With more than 15 years of experience in various small satellite projects and participation on interplanetary missions, VECTRONIC Aerospace has developed a strong understanding on the needs of such a project.This experience has left its mark on a broad spectrum of simulation tools, which support

the in-house testing process on the one hand, and attend system engineering teams worldwide during the whole lifecycle of a space mission on the other hand.

The VECTRONIC simulation tools come with a rather generic framework, a graphical user interface and a program structure that connects the mission specific software modules. These modules implement custom defined models, e.g. for

  • Spacecraft dynamics
    • Orbital / Trajectory
    • Attitude
    • Dynamics of moving structure (solar arrays, antennas)
  • Simple thermal model (capable for real-time execution)
  • Power model (solar generator, battery)
  • Communication (visibility / blockage to ground stations / other satellites)
  • Payload (coverage analysis, power data rate estimation, planning and scheduling)
  • Planetary magnetic field
  • Interfaces to sensors / actuators for hardware-in-the-loop simulation


The integration of all relevant models into one simulation tool promote the harmonisation of the entire system. Contradictions that occur between separate subsystems can be identified and solved faster. Furthermore, the communication between the different departments benefits from the common platform and the information flow to a succeeding mission phase is optimised.The development of a space mission is typically an iterating process. Starting with a simple set of models, which are driven by the environmental conditions, the complexity increases rapidly with the progress of the mission. VECTRONICs simulation tools can grow with the needs of the project. Models can be refined and interfaces to other subsystems be adapted.

Simulation results are immediately displayed in tables, diagrams and meaningful 2D/3D visualisations. Furthermore, the data can be stored into files for archiving and post processing.VECTRONIC offers the following options:

  • Consultancy for the mission and system analysis, based on the software
  • The software package itself
  • Equipment for hardware-in-the-loop simulation (for VECTRONIC and external hardware)