You may have heard in the news that NASA’s LCROSS satellite has reached the Moon. The satellite’s mission is to map the Moon’s surface for future manned missions and to determine if water in the form of ice exists in a crater at the Moon’s south pole.
STK, software that we work on, was used amongst others to help plan the mission. STK was streamed live on June 23, 2009 to visualize the lunar swingby in 3D in real-time. A recording of the swingby is here under the section titled “Lunar swingby coverage animation”.
Telemetry, for example the satellite’s orientation, was sent in real-time from the satellite to the Earth and into STK; based on that telemetry, the satellite was oriented and displayed in 3D. The satellite, the satellite orbit, the two camera sensor beams, the Moon, vectors, textual information, and more were all displayed together in one 3D window.
While we are excited that we just officially released Insight3D, this is also very exciting for us. By the way, Insight3D is based on the same 3D engine used in STK and uses AGI’s Dynamic Geometry Library for astrodynamics, which is also based on STK’s. The use of STK for NASA’s mission underscores the quality and accuracy of the 3D visualization that you can expect from Insight3D.
We wish NASA continuing success in this mission.