Andrews Space (Andrews) has been awarded a contract valued at more than $1.5M to develop plug and play spacecraft subsystems and demonstrate integrated spacecraft capability. Under the contract Andrews will add the functionality to support plug-and-play interfaces into its existing line of spacecraft subsystem elements which includes; flight computers, power distribution units, control moment gyros (CMGs), reaction wheels, and sensors. The spacecraft subsystems will then be integrated into a five degree of freedom (5-DOF) spacecraft testbed to demonstrate, in a real-time hardware in the loop environment, end-to-end system functionality. This is where it all comes down to have to prove itself when Andrews conducts full motion spacecraft mission simulations using a control room and flat floor, which are currently in development at its Andrews Rapid Prototyping Lab near Seattle, Washington.
The contract is part of an Air Force Research Laboratory effort to train operators in ORS technologies. Andrews is contracting with Star Technologies Inc., who is leading the effort. Star Technologies has an integrated spacecraft development software suite (Spacecraft Design Tool - SDT) capable of simulating satellite missions. Andrews and Star Technologies will integrate the SDT software suite with the spacecraft simulators as part of the real-time mission simulator environment.
The plug-and-play spacecraft simulator will consist of flight-capable subsystems. The next phase of the program, if awarded, will focus on developing and launching a small plug-and-play spacecraft that can be used for mission training.