7 Tools within STK You Need to Know

For those of you that use STK know it is a very powerful tool to model complex systems and to convey these systems in a dynamic 2D and 3D environment. STK also comes packed with so many tools that it’s often difficult to know which tool can solve the particular problems we have. Thus, after numerous conversations with our client base and hearing the words over and over: “Oh, I wish I knew that sooner”, I thought I would provide a list of the top seven essential tools that will save you time and effort. I’m betting everyone would be ok with that! Here we go:

STK Tool Essentials: 7 Tools You Should Know

  1. Vector Geometry Tool – this tool allows you to build custom geometric models from any combination of out-of-the-box or user created vectors, points, angles, planes, axes and coordinate system components. It allows you to define unique system access constraints, build custom platform and payload orientations and import and export data in any reference frame. A lot more can be found here: Vector Geometry Tool.
  2. Deck Access Tool – the Deck Access tool allows you to compute access to a set of objects, not currently defined within the STK scenario, from a single object within the scenario. Deck access operations are useful when you have a large number of objects that do not need to be in the STK scenario but for which you would like visibility information. Using deck access can greatly reduce load and save time for such scenarios and minimize graphical clutter.
    More on this here: Deck Access Tool and here: STK DIY Series - Using STK Deck Access.
  3. Obscuration Tool – this neat tool allows you to determine when a sensor’s field of view is obscured by one or more objects, including the sensor’s parent object. You can view sensor obscuration in the Obscuration View window and generate reports and graphs of obscuration data. Obscuration Tool.
  4. AzEl Mask Tool – the AzEl Mask tool generates static body masking files (.bmsk) which are used to restrict visibility to a sensor. The term body masking refers to line of sight obstruction caused by the three dimensional model of the parent object of the sensor or other objects in the scenario. The AzEl Mask Tool in STK enables users to create body masks that are used to:
    -Optimize locations for sensors and antennas
    -Predict potential degradation or blackout times for payloads during a mission
    -Visualize obscuring structural elements with a static "az-el" mask for a particular location
    More info can be found here: AzEl Mask Tool and here: STK DIY Series - Using the STK AzEl Mask Tool.
  5. Solar Panel Tool – this cool tool enables you to model the exposure of solar panels mounted on a spacecraft, aircraft and ground vehicles over a given time interval. The result of the analysis can be used to determine varying availability of electrical power for operations to be performed by the vehicle and onboard apparatus. Check out more info here: Solar Panel Tool.
  6. Spatial Analysis Tool – the Spatial Analysis tool enables you to create calculations and conditions that depend on locations in 3D space which are, in turn, provided by user-definable volume grids. Combining spatial calculations and volume grids in volumetric objects allows you to report and graph calculations over time and across grid points, as well as visually depict volumes representing various values interpolated across grid points. Spatial Analysis Tool.
  7. Calculation Tool – this powerful tool allows you to combine system data with algebraic, functional and calculus operations to define and evaluate system performance. Plus you can:
    - Optimize locations for sensors and antennas
    - Extend models by creating custom algorithms
    - Create custom calculations from 2D mathematical operations
    - Define new data providers
    More info can be found here: Calculation Tool.


The foundation for analyzing and visualizing complex systems in the context of their missions.

Analysis Workbench

Create custom functions and calculations relative to times, positions, and reference frames.

Systems Tool Kit (STK)

Modeling and simulation software for digital mission engineering and systems analysis.