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Virgin Galactic using AGI's next-generation STK Aircraft Mission Modeler

By: neely
Today, we announced that Virgin Galactic is using our STK Aircraft Mission Modeler (STK AMM) software to create realistic simulated flight paths for WhiteKnightTwo, the jet-powered heavy-lift aircraft designed to ferry Virgin Galactic's six-passenger, two-pilot spaceships to higher than 45,000 feet (13,716 meters) and release them for a rocket ride to space. We thought we'd take this opportunity to highlight some upcoming features which I refer to collectively as “3rd-Gen AMM.”
  • Full support for wind, including various strategies for defining the wind and all of the necessary changes to the underlying math to support the different ways pilots adjust to wind as they operate the aircraft. 
  • Many tweaks to usability and flexibility. Stuff like clicking on the profile chart to select the procedure in the grid spanning the selected point.
    • Manual recalculation
    • Multi-select tools to edit procedures and sites
    • Copy/paste and import/export for objects or collections of objects
    • Better integration between 3D edit and mission user interface
  • Basic maneuver procedure. Here are some of the possibilities:
    • Loops
    • Aileron rolls
    • Barrel rolls
    • Pulls
    • Rolling rulls
    • Simple turns
    • Various climb/cruise/descent profiles and segments
    • Proportional/pursuit guidance strategies for horizontal, vertical and full 3D “intercepts”
    • Station keeping, rendezvous and other guidance modes relative to other objects
  • All new Flight Catalog to manage aircraft performance models, waypoints, runways and helipads.
    • New GUI optimized to handle huge numbers of objects while improving usability (a single tree control handles the jobs of multiple trees/lists in older versions)
    • Views allowing users to create their own customized subsets of items
    • Queries allowing search/filtering to manage views
    • Improved DAFIF management
    • ARINC 424 data files supported. Airports and Navaids in addition to waypoints, runways and helipads
      ARINC 424
  • Added new "AdvancedAircraft" performance models. These new performance models employ external data files to specify performance in terms of weight, altitude, speed, etc. There is a tool to construct the necessary data files from common aerodynamic and propulsion models, including the ability to use external data files for standard aero/propulsion characteristics. Users with detailed models of their aircraft may now bring that data into AMM with a simple reformat of their data and the press of a button. A Flight Test Tool allows for “closing the loop” between actual flight test data and the aero/propulsion models used in AMM.
Want to see it in action? Visit to request a demo or evaluation copy of the software.
Posted: 1/8/2013 2:15:46 PM