G-DYN is a multi-body dynamic simulation software engine that automatically assembles and integrates equations of motion for arbitrarily connected multibody dynamic systems.

The algorithm behind G-DYN is based on a primal-dual formulation of the dynamics that captures the position and velocity vectors (primal variables) of each body and the interaction forces (dual variables) between bodies, which are particularly useful for control and estimation analysis and synthesis. It also takes full advantage of the spare matrix structure resulting from the system dynamics to numerically integrate the equations of motion efficiently. Furthermore, the dynamic model for each body can easily be replaced without re-deriving the overall equations of motion, and the assembly of the equations of motion is done automatically.

G-DYN proved an essential software tool in the simulation of spacecraft systems used for small celestial body surface sampling, specifically in simulating touch-and-go (TAG) maneuvers of a robotic sampling system from a comet and asteroid. It is used extensively in validating mission concepts for small body sample return, such as Comet Odyssey and Galahad New Frontiers proposals.

This work was done by Behcet Acikmese, James C. Blackmore, and Milan Mandic of Caltech for NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. For more information, contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

This software is available for commercial licensing. Please contact Daniel Broderick of the California Institute of Technology at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. NPO-47195

NASA Tech Briefs Magazine

This article first appeared in the November, 2011 issue of NASA Tech Briefs Magazine.

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