The Dynamics Algorithms for Real-Time Simulation (DARTS) computer program solves the equations of motion of tree-topology, flexible, and/or multibody mechanical systems as diverse as molecules, mechanisms, robots, spacecraft, and ground vehicles. It has proven to be particularly useful for real-time simulation of the dynamics of spacecraft. DARTS enables the use of high-fidelity mathematical models of the dynamics of spacecraft, without sacrificing simulation speed. DARTS is based on state-of-the-art algorithms from the spatial-operator-algebra formulation for multibody dynamics. This formulation, which has been reported in a number of previous issues of NASA Tech Briefs, was developed expressly for modeling the dynamic behavior of complex, articulated collections of bodies (principally, multiple-link robot arms) that interact with each other in free space or in contact with other bodies in the environment. Both DARTS and the Dshell software described in the preceding article have been executed on a variety of UNIX and VxWorks platforms.
This program was written by Abhinandan Jain, Guillermo Rodriguez, and Guy K. Man of Caltech for NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. For further information, access the Technical Support Package (TSP) free on-line at www.techbriefs.com under the Computer Software category, or circle no. 134 on the TSP Order Card in this issue to receive a copy by mail ($5 charge).