Vehicle systems can only be tested with restricted degrees of freedom and accuracy of the environmental dynamics before being flown. However, a vehicle’s dynamics can be simulated and its sensors can be artificially stimulated. This is needed to test flight software, hardware components and the interactions between subsystems. The Institute for Space Systems is currently developing a laboratory in which orbit and position control, navigation and control systems can be tested. These hardware-in-the-loop tests can be carried out in two steps:
It is possible to create a system which can test a variety of orbit and position control systems. To adjust for a particular mission, the simulated interfaces can be configured according to most types of sensors and actuators.