DARTS Shell (Dshell) is a multimission spacecraft simulator for the development, integration, and test of flight software and hardware. Dshell reduces the time and cost of developing simulation programs by enabling the development of the software in modular, reusable form and by providing a host of generic capabilities that simplify the development process and enhancing run-time usability. Dshell combines (1) the DARTS program (described in the following article), which is a computational engine that solves equations for the flexible dynamics of both spacecraft and nonspacecraft multibody systems with (2) libraries of mathematical models for such hardware items as actuators, sensors, motors, and encoders into (3) an integrated simulation-environment software system that can be easily configured and interfaced with flight software and hardware according to requirements for various real- and non-real-time simulations. Dshell is portable from desktop computer workstations to real-time, hardware-in-the-loop simulation environments. Dshell is in use by several of NASA's projects, including Cassini, Galileo, Mars Pathfinder, and several projects in the Flight System Testbed at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
This program was written by Abhinandan Jain and Jeffrey Biesiadecki 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. 135on the TSP Order Card in this issue to receive a copy by mail ($5 charge).