Software Helps NASA Develop Next-Generation Air Vehicles
- Created: Sunday, 01 May 2011
PHX ModelCenter® software
Phoenix Integration’s PHX ModelCenter® software has been used by NASA to create a robust, physics-based design and analysis framework to be used early in the design process for the next generation of air vehicles. It works in conjunction with other NASA software, and has resulted in lower costs and reduced product development time because it is easy to use and effective in the early stages of design.
The technology allows engineers to more easily incorporate physics-based “high-fidelity” engineering analysis tools into a multidisciplinary design process. Because engineers can more accurately simulate the complex coupling between engineering disciplines, they can more accurately capture the complex behavior of novel design configurations.
In 2008, Phoenix Integration received funding to develop a Multi-Disciplinary, Multi-Fidelity Design Environment from NASA’s Langley Research Center (Hampton, VA) through NASA’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program. The technology was integrated into Phoenix Integration’s core product, PHX ModelCenter software Versions 8.0 and 9.0.
In January 2009, a new geometry rendering capability (Geometry File Variables) was incorporated into ModelCenter 8.0. A year later, additional technology was added to ModelCenter 9.0 that allows engineers to more easily integrate high-fidelity simulation tools into the ModelCenter environment (QuickWrap 2.0), and to create multi-disciplinary, multi-fidelity system models (Graphical Process Builder). Because of the large customer base of previous versions of ModelCenter, the new product was rapidly commercialized when it was included in Phoenix Integration’s core software. Today, over 1,000 engineers in over 100 different locations can use the technology.
The technology has been infused back into NASA missions, projects, and programs. First, it is a component of the NASA Fundamental Aeronautics Initiative, assessing accurate concept developments for a wide range of air vehicles. This has reduced risk and cost for engineers in this initiative by utilizing physics-based models early in the design process. The software is used as part of the Subsonic Fixed Wing Project at Langley.
Additional NASA applications/branches using the technology include Jet Propulsion Laboratory’s (JPL) design of new space mission concepts, and other work at Ames Research Center’s Systems Analysis Branch.
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