As the number of channels, or operative sites, increases in present and future ground special power (GSP) development efforts, the amount of hardware required to test development codes becomes substantially expensive. By simulating/emulating the hardware, code development in a control system can be tested and verified using software simulation. Having simulation and emulation of the complete system is also crucial for facilitating the development of the control applications during code reviews, customer demonstrations, unit testing, and possibly for future personnel training.

The critical problem that motivated this innovation was the fact that the available simulator can only be used to build an application that simulates and emulates I/O signals in the I/O modules, but not data transfers or message instructions to the power supplies. To support future development of the GSP system, performing upgrades to hardware components or adding more channels to the system in a lab environment can be difficult and costly. In a virtual environment, the control system can be replicated to accommodate for the additional hardware with less difficulty.

A multi-threaded software application has been developed using Java programming language in Windows 7 Operating System (OS). The application concurrently simulates and emulates a set of four DC-power supply units and one battery backup unit that provide regulated DC power to launch support control systems at multiple operative sites called channels. The software application emulates not only the concurrent operation and functionality of each DC-power unit, but also establishes concurrent client-server communication via open-socket protocol just as the actual DC-power units do with the redundant control system.

Two different Java multi-threaded software applications were designed, developed, and deployed to individually simulate and emulate each one of the five DC-power units in concurrent communication with the redundant systems A and B. One software application launches four independent instances to simulate and emulate four power units. The second software application launches a single instance to simulate and emulate battery backup unit or Battery Management System (BMS). MiMiC, a commercially available Windows-based simulation en-abler tool, was used to simulate and emulate digital and analog Inputs and Outputs (I/O) in the I/O module cards. MiMIC simulator runs simultaneously with Java-based DC-power simulation instances to not only emulate the complete hardware system, but also provide power balancing of simulated A/C loads between multiple power buses.

This work was done by Jesus Dominguez, Angel Vazquez, Alfredo Urbina, and Elias Victor of John F. Kennedy Space Center. For additional information on this software, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. KSC-14016


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This article first appeared in the August, 2018 issue of Tech Briefs Magazine.

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