ESA GNC Conference Papers Repository

Modeling, Simulation, and Visualization Environment to Support Independent Verification and Validation of Artemis 1 Separation Events
Paul Tartabini, Brett Starr, Jeremy Shidner, Rafael Lugo, Benjamin Tackett, Esther Lee, Scott Angster, Bandu Pamadi, Peter Covell, Tannen VanZwieten
Presented at:
Sopot 2023
Full paper:

This paper provides an overview of the tools used to conduct independent modeling and simulation of Artemis 1 separation events and highlights challenges and lessons learned across a decade of analysis. An overview of each of the tools along with the process flow and key components of maintaining independence from the Program’s baseline tool set will be provided. In addition, each of the separation analyses conducted will be discussed, making note of key models incorporated for each event and unique challenges that were addressed. The technical work described in this paper is part of an on-going technical assessment conducted by the NASA Engineering and Safety Center to develop and maintain an independent modeling and simulation capability in support of Space Launch System (SLS) and Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle (MPCV) throughout design, verification, and flight readiness cycles. For Artemis 1, an end-to-end analysis approach was taken with events simulated from launch to re-entry. This paper will focus on the separation events, including liftoff clearance analysis, solid rocket booster (SRB) separation from Core Stage (CS), Service Module (SM) panel jettison, ICPS / Core Stage Separation, and MPCV/ ICPS separation. To assess separation clearances, the NESC has developed a high fidelity, independent 6-degree of freedom (DOF) simulation of the separation events. The simulation was developed using the Program to Optimize Simulated Trajectories II (POST2). POST2 is an industry standard flight trajectory optimization and simulation tool that is Class D compliant and follows NASA NPR 7150.2, which includes regression testing, unit testing, and configuration control of the simulation. The primary objective of the SLS separation and clearance analyses was to estimate the clearances between different vehicle components and/or ground support equipment (GSE) during separation events. The clearance is defined as the minimum distance from any point on one 3D geometry model associated with one vehicle component (or GSE) to any point on another 3D geometry model associated with a vehicle component separating from the main body. The vehicle geometry models used by the NESC to compute the separation clearances were derived from CAD models. POST2 simulation results were post processed in the Exploration Visualization Environment (EVE) tool to compute clearances, and detect recontact occurrences, if any, between the separating stages. EVE is a simulation, visualization, and analysis system designed to integrate time-based dynamics data with detailed graphical models in a full-scale virtual environment. EVE was used to simultaneously calculate more than 30 different separation clearances by “driving” detailed vehicle geometry models with position and attitude time history data obtained from the POST2 simulation. EVE displays each clearance distance visually, at any given instant of time, with a straight line connecting the two closest points on each object and records the time history of the clearance distance in a file. If the clearance reduces to zero, then EVE reports it as a recontact. To perform separation analyses, POST2 Monte Carlo analyses were performed by running 2000 dispersed cases that included over hundreds of uncertainties and dispersions for a range of simulation models including aerodynamics, propulsion, navigation sensors, control actuators, slosh and flexible body dynamics, and winds and atmosphere. Clearances were computed for each of the dispersed Monte Carlo trajectories and overall separation performance was statistically assessed. Over the past decade the POST2 simulation and EVE visualization tools have been used to perform detailed assessments of the separation events that occur during the Artemis 1 ascent. To support these assessments, numerous unique simulation models were developed and integrated into the standard suite of POST2 simulation models to address and resolve key concerns specific to each of the Artemis 1 separation events. In addition to presenting an overview of the multi-body 6-DOF simulation and separation analysis capability, the paper will discuss the integration of key simulation models such as flexible body dynamics, slosh dynamics, separation mechanisms, multi-body aerodynamics, and environmental models. Additional details are provided about other challenges that were addressed, including the use of a convex hull to reduce computational time for clearance calculations, the modeling of incidental recontact during separation events, and the capability to simulate failure scenarios.