a.i. solutions has created an application that allows users to interactively design and explore satellite orbital geometry using the touch screen interface of the popular Apple iPad device.
The application, called Orbit Architect©, allows users to manipulate a satellite orbit using multi-touch gestures, see the effects in real time, and then animate the results. As the orbit is changed, dynamic diagrams illustrating the meaning of each orbital parameter are presented. The results of a session can then be sent via email.
“Traditionally, computer based satellite orbit design has been limited to standard mouse and keyboard input interfaces,” says Robert Conde, a.i. solutions’ Lead Software Engineer. “These methods do not provide an immediate context or visual connection between the method of manipulation and the value being manipulated. However, by utilizing multi-touch gestures available via a touch screen interface, many of the disdvantages of the traditional approaches can be overcome. The interface and the input device are unified into the orbit visualization—and contextually mapped multi-touch gestures provide the control mechanism.”
Orbit Architect is now available for free download at Apple’s iTunes App Store. While Orbit Architect allows manipulation of a single orbit and is currently available exclusively for the iPad, the technology can be applied to any device with a touch screen interface, and extended to allow any number of orbits. a.i. solutions is also the developer of FreeFlyer® -- a software application that allows high-fidelity orbit design and astrodynamics analysis using traditional input methods. It is used by various space agencies, including NASA and the U.S. Air Force for mission analysis and satellite operations.