Why Use Princeton Satellite Systems’ MATLAB Toolboxes?

Almost all aerospace organizations have extensive libraries of software for simulation, design and analysis. Why then should they use our MATLAB toolboxes?

I’ve been working in the aerospace business since 1979. My experience includes:

  1. The Space Shuttle Orbiter Dynamics Analysis
  2. The GPS IIR control system design
  3. The Inmarsat 3 control system design
  4. The GGS Polar Platform control system design
  5. The Mars Observer delta-V control system
  6. The Indostar-1 control system
  7. The ATDRS momentum management system
  8. The PRISMA formation flying safe mode guidance

In all of these projects many software packages were used to design and validate the subsystems. Only specialists could use each package (such as TRASYS and SINDA for thermal, SolidWorks for CAD, NASTRAN for structures, etc). Subsystem engineers focused only on their immediate design tasks and “threw over the wall” any issues that impacted other subsystems. The attitude control engineers ultimately relied on large simulations they built for validation. Orbit and attitude simulations were rarely integrated. The only time anything was tested together was during flight and as a result there were always surprises.

When I founded Princeton Satellite Systems my goal was to develop software that helped solve these problems. We chose MATLAB® as the environment because it was easy to use and cross platform. Another important feature of MATLAB is that it is an interpreted language meaning you can immediately run your software without going through the compile-link-run cycle. The software would cover all subsystems with easy to use software so that engineers could study the impact of their work on other subsystems, and understand the issues faced by other subsystem engineers. An important feature was to provide full source code so engineers could understand exactly what the software was doing.

We started selling our toolboxes in 1995 and are now at our 2014.1 release which is the 12th release! The toolboxes allow you to do almost everything the big software packages do but more quickly and providing a better understanding of exactly what the software is doing. You can do CAD, thermal analysis, power analysis, drag build ups, propulsion systems (air breathing and rocket) analysis and much more. We have specialized modules for nuclear fusion propulsion, solar sails and formation flying. We’ve expanded into terrestrial packages including wind turbines, image processing and robotics.

Our toolboxes are used for all of our contract work. These include numerous commercial and government projects and have resulted in multiple patents.

The toolboxes provide a valuable adjunct to your existing software. You can try out new designs very easily, and experiment with different dynamical or environmental models quickly without touching your high-fidelity software tools. You can later update your high-fidelity tools if needed. What-if studies can be done in hours, not weeks or months. Preliminary designs for proposals can be done in less time and for less money. Exploring new ideas is fast and you can investigate all subsystems, even if a particular subsystem is not your area of expertise.

We encourage everyone to try out our toolboxes. Demos are available and we’d be happy to talk to you about our software and our experiences using our software. For more information check out our MATLAB Toolboxes page or send us an email about our MATLAB Software.


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