Spacecraft Models

This model package for the Simulation Framework enables you to simulate spacecraft in DSim including sensors and actuators, attitude and orbit dynamics, and provides a library for writing control and estimation software. It’s like having the Spacecraft Control Toolbox available in C++!

The Spacecraft Package includes the following: the Spacecraft Control framework with hundreds of C and C++ functions to support spacecraft modeling and control and a bundle of DSim C++ classes modeling dozens of spacecraft components. A supporting package of display plug-ins and data processors for VisualCommander is sold separately and requires a Mac.

Simulation models include:

  • Power components: battery, solar panels, networks
  • Sensors: cameras and imagers, IMU, horizon sensor, sun sensor, magnetometer, GPS receiver, star tracker
  • Actuators: blowdown propulsion model, torquers, reaction wheels
  • Space environment and disturbances
  • Central body and harmonic gravity models
  • Communications: antenna, links, ISL, ground station
  • Isothermal and generic thermal models
  • Rigid body and gyrostat dynamics

The VisualCommander displays included in the Displays package are:

  • Attitude quaternion
  • Centroids (for an image)
  • Earth orbit
  • Relative orbit
  • Heliocentric orbit
  • Ground track
  • Propulsion subsystem (for a blowdown system with multiple thrusters)
  • Sensor cones
  • Star map

The Spacecraft Control library includes classes for common control needs such as a 3 axis PID controller, unscented Kalman filters, the Jacchia 1970 atmospheric density model, Newtonian aerodynamics, pinhole camera modeling, and a multi-body spacecraft model. The function library includes a broad array of support functions including ephemeris, gravity modeling, math utilities including linear programming, coordinate transformations, and state space systems. Use the library to write your own control systems in ControlDeck, or your own sensor and actuator models in DSim!

View the Spacecraft Control Framework API on our support site.


The technology in these products is restricted under the International Traffic in Arms Regulation (ITAR), which controls the export and import of defense-related material and services. Please use the contact form on the Simulation Framework page and note the end-user country in your request.