High-Fidelity Hardware-in-the-Loop Emulators
As a complement and extension to computer simulations, the NGCLAB provides the emulators and equipment to conduct Hardware-in-the-Loop (HIL) simulations. The main objective of these HIL simulations is to immerse the flight software in the realistic operational conditions of its future environment including the measurements generated by a real sensor and the processing power of a real flight-like real-time computer. Some physical processes are too complex to model and simulate with high accuracy (e.g. Lidar instrument interaction with the terrain). Using the real sensor hardware avoids this complexity. Furthermore, these complex physical processes require so much computing power that they make real-time simulations impossible. Replacing them with real hardware avoids this problem.
The various equipment in the NGCLAB include the Landing Dynamic Test Facility (LDTF), a 6 degree-of-freedom mechanical arm mounted on a rail system that emulates the scaled, closed-loop motion of a planetary landing vehicle using real sensors (camera, Lidar, inertial measurement unit) as well as a flight-like processor in the loop
NGC Landing Dynamic Test Facility (LDTF)