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Modern spacecraft systems and the instruments they carry require the use of advanced analysis tools. Software tools are used to calculate the amount of energy that the spacecraft receives from the environment and, using mathematical models representing the spacecraft's geometry and thermal links, can predict the likely temperatures of the spacecraft components in flight.
In the past, ESA has sponsored the development of thermal analysis software in an attempt to provide a set of common tools across the European space thermal community. The aim was to reduce the duplication of effort where thermal departments in different agencies and companies re-implement similar tools, and to allow the exchange of model data between the different thermal departments.
However, experience has shown that different thermal departments have different requirements, work in different ways, and with a wide variety of tools. The specific functionality of a particular tool, and the intellectual investment in that tool, may be crucial to the workflow of a department.
ESA is now developing and promoting open standards for data exchange between the thermal analysis tools. The standards are being validated in-house via the TASverter development.
Note: ESA has had significant involvement in the development of the analysis tools shown in the links.
Other tools are also available.
Last update: 2 May 2007
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