A trip to Embry-Riddle & STK-12

Payton M -

Hello, welcome back! Last Friday my mentor Akash and I went up to Embry-Riddle (ERAU) in Prescott to work on the trajectory simulation using STK-12 (Systems Tool Kit-12). We had to use the ERAU computers because STK-12 requires a license, and the software is pre-downloaded on the computers in their computer lab. We were only able to complete the Orbit Raising Maneuver (ORM) Section, but plan to go back a few more times to finish the other sections. 

To start, a 3D simulation of the Earth is displayed on the screen. Then, using the dropdown tabs, you are shown a wide selection of items to insert (satellite, asteroid, etc.). I chose a satellite to represent our spacecraft. Using data from the code, such as orbital eccentricity, perigee/apogee altitude, and semi-major axis, the program displays the spacecraft in an orbit around Earth with the orbital parameters that we input. It was challenging to display the ORMs as a continuous orbit initially, so I added multiple satellites, each with the sequential orbit in the ORM. Then, I was able to adjust the animation start and end time for each orbit, to make it continuous. 

STK-12 at ERAU

We were there from 10 am-1:30 pm working in the senior design lab. It took a while to figure out the software in the beginning, but after some trial and error, it was much easier to use. When I go back on Monday, I plan to work on the Hohmann Transfer section and anticipate to get more completed, as I’m more familiar with it now. 

I’m excited to see how this animation comes along in the next few weeks!

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