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SISO Space Reference FOM – Tools and Testing

The Simulation Interoperability Standards Organization (SISO) Space Reference Federation Object Model (SpaceFOM) version 1.0 is nearing completion. Earlier papers have described the use of the High Level Architecture (HLA) in Space simulation as well as technical aspects of the SpaceFOM. This paper takes a look at different SpaceFOM tools and how they were used during the development and testing of the standard.

The first organizations to develop SpaceFOM-compliant federates for SpaceFOM development and testing were NASA’s Johnson Space Center (JSC), the University of Calabria (UNICAL), and Pitch Technologies.

JSC is one of NASA’s lead centers for human space flight. Much of the core distributed simulation technology development, specifically associated with the SpaceFOM, is done by the NASA Exploration Systems Simulations (NExSyS) team. One of NASA’s principal simulation development tools is the Trick Simulation Environment. NASA’s NExSyS team has been modifying and using Trick and TrickHLA to help develop and test the SpaceFOM.

The System Modeling And Simulation Hub Laboratory (SMASH-Lab) at UNICAL has developed the Simulation Exploration Experience (SEE) HLA Starter kit, that has been used by most SEE teams involved in the distributed simulation of a Moon base. It is particularly useful for the development of federates that are compatible with the SpaceFOM. The HLA Starter Kit is a Java based tool that provides a well-structured framework to simplify the formulation, generation, and execution of SpaceFOM-compliant federates.

Pitch Technologies, a company specializing in distributed simulation, is utilizing a number of their existing HLA tools to support development and testing of the SpaceFOM. In addition to the existing tools, Pitch has developed a few SpaceFOM specific federates: Space Master for managing the initialization, execution and pacing of any SpaceFOM federation; EarthEnvironment, a simple Root Reference Publisher; and Space Monitor, a graphical tool for monitoring reference frames and physical entities.
Early testing of the SpaceFOM was carried out in the SEE university outreach program, initiated in SISO. Students were given a subset of the FOM, that was later extended. Sample federates were developed and frameworks were developed or adapted to the early FOM versions.

As drafts of the standard matured, testing was performed using federates from government, industry, and academia. By mixing federates developed by different teams the standard could be tested with respect to functional correctness, robustness and clarity.

These frameworks and federates have been useful when testing and verifying the design of the standard. In addition to this, they have since formed a starting point for developing SpaceFOM-compliant federations in several projects, for example for NASA, ESA as well as SEE.

Authors: Björn Möller, Andreas Rydell, Edwin Z Crues, Dan Dexter, Alberto Falcone, Afredo Garro
Publication: Proceedings of 2020 Winter Simulation Innovation Workshop, 2020-SIW-027, Simulation Interoperability Standards Organization, February 2020

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