This collection of C++ classes allows users to create and simulate aerospace vehicle models that are needed to test prototyped display software. A software model of the Apollo LEM spacecraft was developed on a Windows-based PC, and was used for initial testing and research of cockpit displays. The model was later updated to the current Altair configuration — the name of NASA’s next lunar lander. The software models the Moon geometry based on Clementine data and lunar gravity in a 6-degrees-of-freedom (DOF) model. The mass/inertias are modeled from the current, known data of the latest released Altair model.

The software is designed such that additional models can be developed and incorporated into existing visual simulations. The software consists of three parts: a user interface, a generic physics engine, and a specific model instance. The model software is contained in its own library, and can be easily ported to any computer. One major advantage of this innovation is that it is internally developed, and can be easily modified to meet visual requirements of various simulations.

This work was done by Jarvis Arthur of Langley Research Center and Robert Norman of Boeing. For more information on this technology, contact Langley Research Center at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Refer to LAR-17852-1

NASA Tech Briefs Magazine

This article first appeared in the November, 2015 issue of NASA Tech Briefs Magazine.

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