In 1994, ESA initiated a study into what was, and to some extent still is, one of the biggest problems facing the space thermal analysis community: the need for reliable data transfer between the different analysis tools. The outcome of that study was the start of the journey that would lead to the development of STEP-TAS and TASverter.
ESA sees STEP-TAS as the key technology for the harmonisation of space thermal analysis tools and data exchange between national agencies and industrial groups using different tools.
TASverter is a general converter for models used in Thermal Analysis for Space. It has "reader" modules for converting information from the native file formats of a number of [space] thermal analysis tools into an intermediate, internal STEP-TAS representation, and "writer" modules to convert this internal representation into the native file formats of a number of [space] thermal analysis tools.
In fact, TASverter is the cutting-edge technology demonstrator to show the reality of model data conversion and exchange using STEP-TAS. TASverter has been used extensively within ESA to verify and validate the development on the underlying STEP-TAS protocol using real-world models written for different thermal analysis tools, and is being used as a beacon to light the way for the implementation of STEP-TAS interfaces in the commercial analysis tools.
Why is TASverter important?
TASverter shows the reality of model data conversion and exchange using the STEP-TAS standard. It has been used extensively within ESA to verify and validate the development on the underlying STEP-TAS protocol using real-world models written for different thermal analysis tools, and it leads the way for the implementation of STEP-TAS interfaces in the commercial analysis tools.
The ultimate goal of the TASverter and STEP-TAS development is to formalize the standard at ECSS and ISO level and to transfer the interface software and lessons learned to the analysis tool vendors themselves so that they can maintain their own "reader" and "writer" modules as their own tools evolve. TASverter is a way of avoiding parallel developments by all of the tool developers as well as the inherent duplication of effort that is involved, and the possibility of divergent and incompatible implementations.
Which data formats are supported?
Much of the current functionality of TASverter has been driven by ESA's own needs for data exchange. TASverter handles the conversion of static geometrical models for ESARAD, THERMICA and TRASYS. Prototype interfaces are available for reading NASTRAN geometry and ESATAN GFF results files, and for writing PATRAN session and results files.
Future developments are related to the STEP-TAS conformance classes and the order in which they will be implemented is likely to be: adding mission support, expanding the geometrical capabilities to handle kinematic models and pointing, and conversion of thermal mathematical models.
Further information relating to the current version of TASverter is available in the Release Notes.
Last update: 27 March 2007