A scalable hardware-in-the-Loop simulation for satellite constellations and other multi-agent networks
Degraw, Christopher F.
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Given the plans for satellite mega-constellations, there is a lack of rigorously tested operations and control methods for constellations larger than 30 to 50 spacecraft. The purpose of this thesis is to propose the principles behind a robust, modular, and scalable system able to provide software-in-the-loop (SWIL) and hardware-in-the-loop (HWIL) simulation capabilities for the advancement of formation and constellation system Technology Readiness Levels (TRL). Additionally, this thesis will develop a first generation system demonstrating these principles called Constellation Simulation on a Massive Scale, or COSMoS. The preliminary goals of COSMoS are to 1) simulate multiple or more satellites in a constellation to demonstrate scalable capability; and 2) connect to external hardware devices in real-time to demonstrate HWIL capability. The simulation framework behind COSMoS is the Multi-Agent Distributed Network Simulator, or MADNS. MADNS is a real-time hardware-in-the-loop (RT-HWIL) simulator capable of communicating with independent agents and external hardware and software elements. This framework will encapsulate the COSMoS simulation but will be designed to work with any multi-agent network simulation designed within the constraints of the MADNS API. This thesis will show the results of the preliminary development of both MADNS and COSMoS and will present a direction for the further development of both a satellite constellation simulator and general real-time hardware-in-the-loop simulators.