Continuum Space Systems
Continuum is an entirely cloud-based platform for concept-to-completion mission management.
It is an interactive and collaborative design tool suite that provides high-fidelity simulations for the preliminary design, optimization analysis, deployment and operations of single or constellations of satellites around the Earth, Moon, or any other planetary body in our Solar System. The toolkit provides spacecraft performance analysis throughout the entire mission development and lifecycle. Through a body-agnostic approach, the platform enables the support of complex mission scenarios and architectures while maintaining ease-of-use for the end users. Continuum integrates and leverages NASA tools such as SPICE, GMAT, and MONTE to perform tasks such as mission design and navigation. The eventual goal of the platform is a global collaborative and concurrent framework for the design, operations, and traffic management of space and ground assets around the Earth, cis-Lunar space, and beyond.
Today, the platform includes a first set of analysis modules empowering the user to gain insights in designing new space missions.
Data Collection, Transmission, and Coverage
This module allows the user to compute coverage statistics such as access times and coverage figures of merit for desired ground assets for a single spacecraft or constellation. The coverage analysis can involve accessing ground targets for collection of data using onboard payload(s) by a spacecraft and the transmission of the data back to ground stations during the spacecraft’s pass over their defined coordinates.
It also has an in-built Flight System Design module which allows you to estimate the launch mass and power requirements of your spacecraft based on your payload specifications (mass and power)
In the following demonstration you will see a constellation of 12 spacecraft at an altitude of 500 km above the Earth’s surface in a Walker Star formation Imaging some discrete ground targets at different coordinates around the world and also transmitting data to a network of Ground stations around the world.
This module allows you to Transfer from an initial prescribed orbit to a final desired orbit within the same planetary body using chemical or electric propulsion.
The following video demonstrates a low thrust transfer using a spacecraft with an electric propulsion system from a 500 km orbit with an inclination of 90 deg to a 700 km orbit with a 65 deg inclination.
This module allows the user to Determine frequency and magnitude of maneuvers required to maintain a spacecraft in a desired reference orbit in order to remain stable and counter the forces due to the space environment such as gravity, solar radiation pressure, and celestial body perturbations.
The following video demonstrates an orbit maintenance analysis for a 350 km circular orbit at an inclination of 65 deg. The analysis lets the user know the total delta V required and the amount of fuel required to maintain the orbit. It also allows the user to see the variation of the orbital elements over the entire duration of the mission.
Earth to Moon Transfer
This module computes a fuel optimal trajectory from a prescribed Earth orbit to a final lunar orbit with a provision to account for higher order perturbations. Two impulsive maneuvers are designed in the transfer:
- TLI: Trans-Lunar Injection
- LOI: Lunar Orbit Insertion
The following video demonstrates an orbital transfer from a geostationary transfer orbit around the earth to a low lunar orbit around the Moon.
Multi-Body Orbit Design
This module allows the user to design periodic orbits in a multi-body dynamical environment.
The user can choose a family, range or single three-body periodic orbit(s) in the Earth-Moon system from a pre-generated database. Options include resonant orbits, halo orbits (including Artemis 1 successfully flown near rectilinear halo orbit), Lyapunov orbits, and distant retrograde orbits, among others. The module can generate the entire family or a specific range of orbits given desired period, Jacobi constant (i.e. energy), or stability values
The following video demonstrates the trajectory of a Halo orbit which is a three dimensional orbit near one of the Lagrange points.