Wednesday, January 23, 2008

NASSP style?

While pondering on what to write in this post, I came to realize that even though I use the expression "NASSP style" quite often in this blog, I may have never really taken the time to explain in a bit more details what exactly I meant by this. I'm not to sure where that expression came from, I believe I may have coined it during a conversation I have with my old partner-in-crime Castorp, back in early 2006.

NASSP is an on-going project to bring a realistic Apollo add-on to Orbiter. By realistic, I mean an high-fidelity add-on which not only simulate the various aspect of a mission but also simulate the many systems and sub-systems which compose a launch vehicle and a spacecraft (like the NASSP folks said : "accurate simulation of the internal systems"). Procedures straight from the official Apollo documents can be used in NASSP, with gazillion of switches, knobs and buttons to switch, turn, press. Needless to said, this is a daunting (yet exciting) task, both for the add-on developers and for the users.

Been the first add-on (AFAIK) of such level of detailing, NASSP not only defines the genre but also set the bare very high for all of us (wannabe) add-on makers. Thus, when I said that our (still under wrap) add-on will be "NASSP style", I mean that we are aiming for a similar (likely higher in fact) level of details and realism (oh yeah, we know, it's a bold statement!).

Just to give you an idea, here is a list of what we will be simulating on the launch vehicle:
  • Propulsion
  • Auxiliary fluids system
  • Propellant system
  • Hydraulic system
  • Pneumatic system
  • Electrical power system
  • Environment Control system
  • Flight control system
  • Instrumentation
  • Interfaces
To be honest I should said that for a couple of the above categories, we won't go deeper than having a bunch of black boxes inter-acting between each others, since their level of complexity is above what we can (or care to) achieve. However in most case, we are hoping to simulate the functioning with a fair (and painful) amount of details (e.g Propulsion system). Since we also have to keep things frame-rate friendly, we'll likely have to cut corners in some cases.



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