FreeFlyer 7.0 new features, A closer look at FreeFlyer 7.0 graphics, Meridian interface, PLENITER Orbit software and Goodbye ITAR

April 29, 2015

Introducing FreeFlyer 7.0

a.i. solutions is excited to announce FreeFlyer 7.0 is now available for download! This major new release contains significant enhancements and new capabilities that allow for a more flexible deployment of FreeFlyer. Here’s a look at what’s new:

Graphical Improvements

  • Enhanced 2D and 3D graphics
  • Improved the OpenGL font and 2D rendering engine
  • New shaders available to create more realistic ViewWindows
  • Added a new Earth image layer for clouds
  • Added a new WindowOverlay object for controlling text, shapes, and image overlays on ViewWindows
  • Added ViewWindow control over the status box and all labels
  • Added the ability to change the thickness of a GraphicsOverlay line
  • Added the ability to update the 3D model for a Spacecraft during propagation

FreeFlyer on Linux

  • FreeFlyer runtime engine is now available for use with Linux Red Hat 6.0+
  • New license options available to access Windows and/or Linux versions

Application Program Interface

  • Added a runtime API to FreeFlyer allowing users to make calls to run Mission Plans from a variety of external custom applications
  • The Runtime API is included with FreeFlyer Mission (Windows and Linux)
  • Included support interfaces to the runtime API for C/C++, C#, and Java languages
  • Numerous help file guides and examples available to help with using the runtime API

Integrated Development Environment Improvements

  • Added Go To Definition support to FreeForm scripts
  • Added Find All References support to FreeForm scripts
  • Added Go To Help File support to FreeForm scripts

Norad State Estimation

  • Estimates Spacecraft Norad state properties associated with a SGP4 / SDP4 propagation model using the FreeFlyer BatchLeastSquaresOD object
  • Also allows estimating Norad state properties directly using any observation model available in the FreeFlyer orbit determination system
  • Orbit Determination Improvements
  • Added a Smoother to the Unscented Kalman Filter (UKF)
  • Vector processing of measurements in the EKF and UKF is now supported

Miscellaneous Enhancements

  • Added Array properties to replace numerous individual-element properties
  • New default user profile option
  • Added a polynomial root finding method on Array and Matrix objects

A closer look – new FreeFlyer 7.0 graphics

The first thing you’ll notice when you run a Mission Plan that uses a ViewWindow in FreeFlyer 7.0 is a distinct improvement in graphics. ViewWindows have received some nice updates; everything is smoother – from the display text to 3D spacecraft models to orbit tails, it’s all just better thanks to the addition of updated OpenGL capabilities.

Then there’s the Earth, which looks fantastic and much more photo-realistic. In addition to the existing image layers of Day, Night, and Specular, we’ve now added two more layers for Clouds and “Bump Mapping”. The latter adds more realistic shadowing and contrast to highly textured areas such as mountains. The clouds themselves move with respect to the Earth below, and even cast their own shadows thanks to the Bump Map.

There’s also a new graphical addition of atmospheric refraction, which performs real-time refraction calculations and updates the color of the atmosphere accordingly. The result is a noticeable glow of the Earth’s limb, true light color transitioning during dawn and dusk, and if you happen to have your camera source on the surface of the Earth during the day,the sky will appear blue.

Though these screenshots don’t do it justice, take a look at this side-by-side comparison of the same Mission Plan run in FreeFlyer 6.11 and FreeFlyer 7.0.

FreeFlyer 6            FreeFlyer 7

FreeFlyer escapes gravitational pull of ITAR

We are pleased to announce that due to the recent US export reform rules enacted in late 2014, FreeFlyer is no longer listed on the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) for export control under the US Department of State. Effective immediately, FreeFlyer now falls under export control of the US Department of Commerce with product category EAR99, meaning that in most cases, export licenses are not needed for non-US citizens to gain access to FreeFlyer.

This is great news not only for international companies and organizations who previously had to wait weeks for export approval to gain access to FreeFlyer, but also for universities around the world (including domestically) who have students from multiple nationalities. Getting FreeFlyer in the classroom is now much more attainable! If you are a student or teacher at a university and wish to utilize FreeFlyer as part of your curriculum to help teach a class such as Orbital Mechanics, please contact info@ai-solutions.com.

Meridian: the FreeFlyer ground system interface

Here at a.i. solutions, we pride ourselves at being the best in the business when it comes to offering flight dynamics capabilities. In particular, we have an extensive heritage of deploying custom FreeFlyer-based flight dynamics ground systems supporting operational missions of all sizes.

Today, we are excited to announce the availability of a new ground system offering called Meridian. Meridian was designed to address the common flight dynamics needs of today’s space missions in a flexible Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) platform. The Meridian system is powered by FreeFlyer, and offers satellite operators a flexible browser-based interface with fully customizable inputs and outputs, along with an internal database.

Meridian works with either Windows or Linux versions of FreeFlyer, and since the operator interface is accessible via any web browser, the result is a true cross-platform, client/server architecture system that is flexible and scalable for any size satellite mission.

Meridian Interface

FreeFlyer to be used in SCISYS PLENITER® Orbit software

a.i. solutions is pleased to partner with SCISYS, a leading developer of technical engineering services and solutions in the UK and Germany, to incorporate FreeFlyer into their upcoming PLENITER suite of products. FreeFlyer will provide the computational astrodynamics engine powering the PLENITER Orbit module, which will be used as part of a fully integrated satellite ground system offering. PLENITER Orbit will utilize FreeFlyer to perform orbit determination, orbit and events prediction, conjunction analysis, maneuver planning, optimization and calibration, attitude monitoring and control, and fuel budget management. For more information, visit www.pleniter.com.

Pleniter

a.i. solutions wins NASA Small Business Prime Contractor of the Year

For the second time in five years (2010 and 2014), a.i. solutions has won the prestigious title of NASA Small Business Prime Contractor of the Year. We won this award at the NASA center level for our outstanding work on the ELVIS 2 contract at Kennedy Space Center performed in 2014. We then competed against all other winners at each NASA Center, and came out on top to be named 2014 NASA Small Business Prime Contractor of the Year at the entire agency level. Congratulations to all those involved in helping us bring home this prestigious award!

Did you know that a.i. solutions does more than just make FreeFlyer? We do MUCH more. Check out our new corporate promotional video to get a feel for all the other great things we’re involved in!

a.i. Video Screen Cap

 

 


 

“All truths are easy to understand once they are discovered; the point is to discover them.”
– Galileo