DSS-Prototyper is an open-source, real-time 3D virtual environment software that supports design simulation for the new Vision for Space Exploration (VSE). This is a simulation of NASA's proposed Robotic Lunar Exploration Program, second mission (RLEP2). It simulates the Lunar Surface Access Module (LSAM), which is designed to carry up to four astronauts to the lunar surface for durations of a week or longer. This simulation (see figure) shows the virtual vehicle making approaches and landings on a variety of lunar terrains. The physics of the descent engine thrust vector, production of dust, and the dynamics of the suspension are all modeled in this set of simulations.

RLEP2 lunar rover simulation and LSAM human lunar lander simulation using DigitalSpace software.
The RLEP2 simulations are drivable (by keyboard or joystick) virtual rovers with controls for speed and motor torque, and can be articulated into higher or lower centers of gravity (depending on driving hazards) to enable drill placement. Gravity also can be set to lunar, terrestrial, or zero-g.

This software has been used to support NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in simulations of proposed vehicles for robotically exploring the lunar surface for water ice, and could be used to model all other aspects of the VSE from the Ares launch vehicles and Crew Exploration Vehicle (CEV) to the International Space Station (ISS). This simulator may be installed and operated on any Windows PC with an installed 3D graphics card.

This program was written by Bruce Damer of DigitalSpace Corporation for Ames Research Center. For further information, click here.

Inquiries concerning rights for the commercial use of this invention should be addressed to DigitalSpace Corporation at (831) 338- 9400. Refer to ARC-15593-1.