The ability to model the space environment and simulate missing elements of the instrument or spacecraft prior to launch is an essential activity.
Modelling and simulation software can simulate hardware, software and environmental aspects, and has a key role in:
- Supporting development phase testing (as often the real systems are not yet developed or available)
- Supporting post launch mission operations with problem diagnosis and verification of software prior to uplink to the spacecraft
- Enabling the scientific performance of the system to be evaluated (including analysis of errors and their propagation)
Because of the high cost of space operations and its remote operating environment, the ability to model the space environment and simulate missing elements of the instrument or spacecraft prior to launch is an essential activity. Modelling and simulation software can be very complex, and involve high level scientific analysis, especially where scientific environments are modelled. Modelling and simulation software functionality commonly includes:
- Simulation of the spacecraft central data handling system and other missing instrument components
- Generating input and output behaviour of modelled or simulated system, including possible failure scenarios.
- Allowing suitable control of specific environmental or functional aspects of simulated systems.
- Providing feedback of internal parameter states for decoding and display and correlation with other system behaviour.
Similarly to flight software, a large degree of this software functionality is required to be real-time, involving a multi-tasking implementation.