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ESA has been involved in space simulation developments for many years, and is developing simulations for a variety of applications including analysis, engineering, test and validation, operations preparation and training. These simulators are developed by different groups and at different stages within a space project. In order to decrease the overall simulator development cost within a space project, ESA has been leading the development of the Simulation Model Portability (SMP) specification. The SMP enables reuse and portability of simulation models between simulator applications within a space project as well as across projects, thus contributing to a reduced overall development effort.
SMP has been in use since its first open release in 2001, SMP1. This version was successfully applied to a number of simulator developments within ESA projects but the lack of support for modern software engineering technologies gave reason to initiate the development of a new major release of the standard, SMP2, which is available at the link provided to the right.
Work within the European Committee for Space Standardisation (ECSS) was initiated in 2006 to promote the SMP2 specification to become part of the ECSS series of standards. This work is currently on-going by an ESA led working group involving representatives from European space agencies and industry. The SMP will be shortly puplished as an ECSS Technical Memorandum.
SMP is based on the ideas of component-based design and Model Driven Architecture (MDA) as promoted by the Object Management Group (OMG) and is based on the open standards of UML and XML. One of the basic principles is the separation of the platform specific and platform independent aspects of the simulation model. This protects the investments in the model from changes in technology by defining the model in a platform independent way, which can then be mapped into different technologies. Further the SMP specification provides standardised interfaces between the simulation models and the simulation run-time environment for common simulation services as well as a number of mechanisms to support inter-model communication.
Work within the ECSS to promote the SMP will continue and the current plan of the working group, including European space agencies and industries, is to have an approved standard by 2010. Further the workinggroup is at the moment working on a ECSS Handbook that will explain the fundamentals principles of the SMP as well as guide the user in applying the standard in simulator developments.
Last update: 6 March 2009
Related LinksECSS website