The development, integration, test, and deployment of large space systems has grown increasingly complex. Simulation of specific critical events such as rendezvous/docking, deployments, separations, pointing and station keeping has been possible for some time and can be used for design decisions and operations planning. An emerging technology in space systems is the simulation of entire systems during the design process. Now a whole array of design and operational decisions can be made based on an integrated simulation model before the hardware has been built. The fidelity and complexity of this simulation model has increased to match the complexity of the systems that engineers are creating.
This paper describes the latest developments in simulation technology to support simulation based design decisions for space systems. These developments are moving the simulation industry beyond parametric based analysis to template based design, complete integrated design process flow, and multidisciplinary design tradeoffs and optimization.
The particular issues for simulation based design that impact the space system industry are addressed. These issues include proof of accuracy, parametric based exploration, interdisciplinary model integration, modeling of innovative systems. Examples are given from industry to illustrate the extent that simulation tools are now affecting the space system design process and how these models can be used to make operational decisions.