The Powers of Analyzer and the Optimizer Extension

By: Karynna Tuan

Do you love performing trade studies, but hate all that pesky scripting required to set up your runs, vary your parameters, and output your results? If so, then Analyzer is perfect for you! Analyzer is an add-on module that takes the engineering analysis capabilities of Phoenix Integration Inc.’s ModelCenter and applies it to the STK software suite. It allows you to connect to your STK scenario and automate and analyze various trade spaces by defining input and output parameters within the Analyzer GUI. This UI-plugin interface eliminates the need for any programming or scripting, while still integrating the power of trade analysis for scenarios focusing on mission planning, real-time operations, and post-mission assessment. Analyzer has the capability to perform a number of various studies including parametric studies (varying one item), carpet plots (varying two items), design of experiments (varying multiples items), and probabilistic analysis (Monte Carlo fashion). You can read more about Analyzer, including past case studies, white papers, and webinars here!

Analyzer UI for Parametric Study

Analyzer sounds perfect, you say? But what if I want to optimize my trade study and set an objective to meet while my analysis proceeds through the defined runs? We have just the thing to help you out! Take a look at our Analyzer extension, Optimizer. This extension runs through the same UI-plugin as Analyzer, so once you’ve learned Analyzer, it’s a breeze to pick up the functionality of Optimizer. It adds three optimization algorithms (Gradient-based, Adaptive Surrogate, and Darwin Genetic) as well as two design space tools (Variable Influence Profiler and the Prediction Profiler). How exactly does the GUI work and function with STK? I’m glad you asked!

As a simple example, let’s say I have three separate satellites, one in LEO, one in MEO, and one in GEO. My LEO and GEO satellites have set parameters, but I want to determine the optimal semi-major axis (a) and inclination (i) of my MEO satellite that will give me the maximum duration to the LEO and GEO satellites. Using the Analyzer carpet plot, I can choose a and i as my input parameters and then vary them through a defined range while outputting the summed duration. This would give me the information I need, but I would have to sort through all the data to determine what configuration gives me the maximum duration. This may not be too difficult if I don’t have a lot of runs, but what if my analysis requires hundreds or thousands of runs? This is a great application for the Optimizer extension. With Optimizer, I can define an objective or goal of my trade study. In this case, I want to maximize the duration of my MEO satellite to LEO and the duration to GEO. I still can vary a and i over a specified range, but now the trade study results take my objective into account and output the optimal MEO orbit.

Optimizer UI for Gradient Optimization

The results of the trade study can be viewed within the Analyzer/Optimizer UI and outputted or saved for later examination. One of the best features of the integrated module though is that the result can also be instantly pushed into my STK scenario. The optimal MEO orbit parameters were determine and implemented into the STK scenario, giving me information that I can use for further analysis. I’ve added the access intervals from MEO to LEO and MEO to GEO, as well as the complete duration that MEO has to either of the other two satellites. We can see that this summed duration has been maximized as defined in Optimizer.

Optimizer Results Output to STK Scenario
Want to learn more about Analyzer and Optimizer? Feel free to browse through our help documentation as well as the following tutorials:
  1. Perform Trade Studies with Analyzer
  2. Satellite Constellation Design
  3. Coverage Trade Study in Mountainous Terrain

With the installation of Analyzer and Optimizer, you also get a number of additional tutorials to help you fully understand the module’s capabilities. Contact our Support Team at 610-981-8888 or now for more information!

Posted: 3/27/2017 9:20:08 AM