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The University of Southampton

Software toolbox for spacecraft design optimisation

Our research is enabling the European Space Agency (ESA) to design more efficient spacecraft.

Software toolbox spacecraft design

Today’s spacecraft play a vital role in scientific research, communications, meteorology, navigation and security. Putting new craft into orbit involves huge expense, so the design of efficient but lightweight system components is a crucial aspect of spacecraft development. We created an innovative software toolbox that enables ESA designers and engineers to find the best trade-off between efficiency and effectiveness, optimising the design of a variety of spacecraft parts, including heat pipes, turbo pumps and injection chambers.

Technological advantages of the toolbox

  • Software library for engineering design optimisation, suitable for solving problems with millions of variables and constraints
  • Optimisation solver of choice of the European Space Agency (ESA)
  • Flexible toolbox containing several state-of-the-art optimisation and globalisation techniques
  • Interfaces: C/C++, Fortran, Matlab, ASTOS, AMPL, CasADi, various communication paradigms

Technology roadmap

2006-2007: Sparse-NLP solver: funded by BMWi grant 50JR0688, led by OHB Systems and in cooperation with Astos Solutions (formerly TTI)

2008-2010: FGS toolbox: funded by European Space Agency TEC-ECM, in cooperation with universities of Southampton, Birmingham, Bremen, Munich, and Coimbra

2007-2010: BlackBox Optimizer: funded by BMWi grant 50RL0722, in cooperation with Astos Solutions

2007-2010: eNLP: funded by ESA TEC-ECM (GSTP-4 G603-45EC), in cooperation with universities of Southampton, Bremen, and Coimbra, as well as Skysoft (now GMV) and Astos Solutions

2011: Various extensions towards special-purpose solvers and particular design problems. Development ongoing

Collaboration opportunity

The toolbox is ready to be applied to practical engineering design problems and is available as a service or research collaboration.

For the cost of a studentship or postdoctoral fellow, the system can be further developed to particular design paradigms, eg robust optimisation, multiobjective optimisation, optimisation -on-achip, and others.

If you would like to know more, please contact Jeorg Fliege

Software toolbox

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