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FreeFlyer provides a variety of interfaces for interacting with external files. For information on working with JSON data, please see the JSON-Formatted Data page.


The following Sample Mission Plans (included with your FreeFlyer installation) demonstrate the use of the FileInterface object:


Interfacing with External Resources Samples

Excel File Interface

File Interface


FreeFlyer Data Files

For information on FreeFlyer Data Files and Formats, including Ephemeris Files, see the Data Files reference in the Appendix. See also Working with Ephemerides.



Creating External Object Files

For information on saving the state of a FreeFlyer object to an external file, see the Put command. See the Get command for information on retrieving states from a file. The Object.PutToFile(), Object.PutToString(), Object.GetFromFile(), and Object.GetFromString() methods can also be used in place of the Put and Get commands.


Note: The Save and Restore commands provide similar functionality to the Put and Get commands, while saving object data to internal memory instead of external files.



Determining Information about External Files and Directories

The FileProperties object can be used to gather information about files and directories, such as whether a file exists in a directory or when a file was last modified. The FileProperties object can be configured using the object editor shown below, or it can be created and configured in FreeForm script.


FileProperties Object Editor

FileProperties Object Editor


This example shows how the FileProperties object can be used to determine if a directory exists on a computer and populate a StringArray with the names of all the files in the directory:


StringArray DirectoryListStringArray;


FileProperties FileProperties1;


FileProperties1.Filename = "D:\User\MyDirectory";


Report FileProperties1.Exists;


If (FileProperties1.Exists == 1);


     Report DirectoryListStringArray;



Output Report


FileProperties1.Exists = 1

DirectoryListStringArray = [myfile1.txt myfile2.txt myPDF.pdf myDOC.doc]



Reading Arbitrary File Formats

Two mechanisms are available to open and parse input files. The first mechanism is the simple StringArray.ReadFromFile method. The second mechanism is the more generic and more functional FileInterface object.


Using these functionalities, you can:

1.Examine input and output files.

2.Read arbitrary ephemeris file formats.

3.Integrate into other systems by reading their native formats.


To help parse data out of each line read, review the StringTokenizer object and the String.Split method. See Parsing Arbitrary String Data for more information.


Note: The StringArray and FileInterface objects also support the creation of arbitrarily formatted output files. Refer to StringArray.WriteToFile, FileInterface.WriteMode, and FileInterface.Write to get started.


Example 1: StringArray ReadFromFile Method

The StringArray.ReadFromFile method is a convenient way to read small ASCII files without having to worry about the details of the format of the file. In this example, a data file is read into a StringArray called fileContents, and then each line is parsed into individual data elements in the lineContents StringArray.


Input File: myFile.txt


Spacecraft1.A        Variable1


 7088.4366419       0.0000000

 7088.1359928       2.0000000

 7087.8048512       4.0000000

 7087.4445534       6.0000000

 7087.0565503       8.0000000

 7086.6424014      10.0000000


Mission Plan


StringArray fileContents[0];

StringArray lineContents[0];

Variable numLines;

Variable i = 0;


//Read the entire contents of the file and place each line into an element of "fileContents"

numLines = fileContents.ReadFromFile("myFile.txt");


While (i < numLines);

    //Split each line into entries, using spaces as the delimiter

    fileContents[i].Split(" ",lineContents);


    //Ignore the first two lines of the file (Headers) and report the parsed data

    If (i > 1);

          Report lineContents[0], lineContents[1];






Output Report

















Note: The StringArray object also has a StringArray.WriteToFile method, which writes the elements of a StringArray to a file. Each element becomes a new line in the file.


Example 2: The FileInterface Object

The FileInterface object has many options that provide the ability to read and write ASCII and binary files. The image below shows an example of the FileInterface object editor, which allows the user to configure a FileInterface's filename, read/write modes, format flags, and other properties.


FileInterface Object Editor

FileInterface Object Editor


In this example, additional acceleration data is retrieved from a randomly formatted external file called "UnmodAccel.txt", and this data is assigned to a Spacecraft ForceModel's "Other Accelerations" properties.


Input File: UnmodAccel.txt


OtherAccelX  OtherAccelY OtherAccelZ OtherAccelRateX OtherAccelRateY OtherAccelRateZ

0.1 0.12 0 0.01 0.02 0


Mission Plan


FileInterface myFileInterface;

Variable status;

StringArray lineContents;

String line;


myFileInterface.Filename = "UnmodAccel.txt";  // Defining the filename

myFileInterface.ReadMode = 1;                 // Set Mode to "Read"


status = myFileInterface.Open;   //Open the FileInterface

line = myFileInterface.GetLine;  //Retrieve the first line of the file, but ignore it

line = myFileInterface.GetLine;  //Retrieve the next line (second line) of the file


line.Split(" ", lineContents);   //Splits the contents of the second line and stores each portion as an element in a StringArray


Alias forcemodel = (Spacecraft1.Propagator AsType Integrator).ForceModel;


//Set the Spacecraft ForceModel "Other Accelerations" using the elements of the StringArray

forcemodel.OtherAccelerations[0]     = StringToFloat(lineContents[0]);

forcemodel.OtherAccelerations[1]     = StringToFloat(lineContents[1]);

forcemodel.OtherAccelerations[2]     = StringToFloat(lineContents[2]);

forcemodel.OtherAccelerationsRate[0] = StringToFloat(lineContents[3]);

forcemodel.OtherAccelerationsRate[1] = StringToFloat(lineContents[4]);

forcemodel.OtherAccelerationsRate[2] = StringToFloat(lineContents[5]);


//Verify that the Force Model's Other Accelerations reflect the values read from the external file

Watch forcemodel.OtherAccelerations[0],







Output Report
















See Also

StringArray Properties and Methods

FileInterface Properties and Methods

FileProperties Properties and Methods

StringTokenizer Properties and Methods

Parsing Arbitrary String Data

JSON-Formatted Data