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Avionics System Test Bench


The Avionics System Test Bench (ATB) is a facility initiated by and located at ESTEC, with the scope of providing the tools and methods for supporting the validation in context of a realistic closed-loop Attitude and Orbit Control System (AOCS) of a typical earth observation satellite. Parts of the ATB were previously known as Virtual Spacecraft Reference Facility (VSRF).


The ATB project defines an evolutionary approach to achieve a reusable simulator system. The facility consists of the following configurations, reflecting increasing levels of sophistication in the modelling, and finally in the inclusion of an on-board computer breadboard in the realtime test bench:
  1. Avionics Functional Simulation (AFS)
  2. Functional Validation Bench (FVB)
  3. Software Verification Facility (SVF)
  4. Real-time Bench (RTB)
Avionics Test Bench architecture Airbus Defence and Space Netherlands B.V. was responsible for the simulator and overall system development, evolution and maintenance since its conceptual phase. The RTB (hardware-in-the-loop capability) has been completed in 2010. The work was performed together with Sener (AOCS design) and Terma (onboard software and SVF), and ESTEC engineers.

Role of EuroSim

The ATB is utilizing EuroSim as the real-time simulation platform in all configurations, apart from the AFS which uses Matlab/Simulink for the modelling. The Real-Time Test-Bench (RTB) supports closed loop execution of the avionics models with the On-Board Computer in the loop and is the most demanding configuration; its high-level architecture is depicted on the left. EuroSim was selected as it is designed to support projects throughout the project life-cyle, including the closed loop simulations with hardware-in-the-loop that occur during Design, Development and Test. The add-on tool MOSAIC was used to transform Matlab/Simulink models into real-time EuroSim models, and the Airbus Defence and Space AIM Mil1553 real-time driver was used to connect the simulator to the MIL1553 bus with the on board computer. Visualisation is provided using the EuroSim add-on OpenIGS, and facility operation is supported using SCOS2000.

More information

For more information on the ATB, please vist the ESA site Avionics Test Bench page on the ESA website
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