Aerospace Software Tool Library

Modern aerospace and space systems design is typically performed with the aid of specialized aerospace software analysis tools and software products. A range of aerospace design software is now available to the aerospace engineering community to be used in an integrated design or integrated synthesis environment. The following list is a partial list of space systems software tools, with emphasis on software that is most suitable to conceptual and preliminary design of future generation space transportation systems, launch systems, interplanetary missions, space exploration projects, and space habitats.

The software list is organized by traditional aerospace discipline. For example, software for propulsion (rocket engine), trajectory analysis, structures, aerodynamics, thermodynamics, trajectory visualization, computer-aided design, flight mechanics, life cycle cost, and overall design integration frameworks are gathered under each major heading. Some of these software products are free while others require a commercial use license. These software products are in use at NASA, aerospace industry, and the US Air Force. Unfortunately, there is no list of standard aerospace or space analysis software in aerospace engineering.

As a courtesy to the space advanced concepts community, we have provided external links to websites for each of the software tools on the list. Free aerospace software is noted. Updates to this library page will be made periodically.

Propulsion Software

Solid propellant ballistics simulation
Chemical Equilibrium with Applications (CEA)
Gov't request, NASA Glenn
Determines thermodynamic and transport properties, calculates theoretical rocket performance and combustion properties
Propulsion Sizing, Thermal Analysis, and Weight Relationship (P-STAR)
Gov't request, NASA Marshall
First order engine balance, thermal balance, reliability/ safety assessment, weight estimation, and cost prediction
Commercial, SpaceWorks Software
Liquid rocket engine performance predictions
Commercial, SpaceWorks Software
Detailed cycle closure for various liquid rocket engine powerhead and nozzle configurations
Rocket Engine Transient Simulations (ROCETS)
Gov't request, NASA MSFC
1D rocket engine simulation package
Tool for Rocket Propulsion Analysis (RPA)
Multi-platform tool for performance prediction of rocket engines
Commercial, Scientific Engineering
Vibration analysis of non-linear multi-bearing rotor-bearing foundation systems
Weight Analysis of Turbine Engines (WATE)
Gov't request, NASA Glenn
Estimation of weight for conceptual turbine engine design

Trajectory Software

The Aerospace Toolkit
Commercial, Advanced Technology Associates
Functionalities in aerodynamics, orbit attitude and guidance, orbit propagation, coordinate frame transformations, etc.
Commercial, Astos Solutions
Flight dynamics solver for launcher, reentry, and orbit trajectory problems
DG GL-Predict
Free, DG Advanced
Propagator, ground station calculations
Free, Celestia Development Team
Orbit visualization
Commercial, SpaceWorks Software
3D trajectory optimization for launch vehicles and missiles
GUI Missile Flyout
Free, MIT Science, Technology, and Global Security Working Group
Simulation of multistage ballistic missiles in a framework with a round, rotating Earth
Systems Tool Kit (STK)
Commercial, Analytical Graphics
Orbit trajectory modeling and analysis
Trajectory Planner
Free, Orbit Hangar
Interplanetary transfer orbit optimizer
Trajectory Optimization Tool
Free, Orbit Hangar
MATLAB-based trajectory tool

Structural Analysis Software

Commercial, DS Simulia
Structural FEA for static and low-speed dynamic events
Commercial, ANSYS
Linear structural and dynamics capability with nonlinear thermal capability
Commercial, Zona Technology
Preliminary structural design optimizer
Beam Analyzer
Commercial, Flight Level Engineering
2D stress analysis, wing spar sizing, control system load analysis, shear-moment-rotation diagrams
Composite Analyzer
Commercial, Flight Level Engineering
Composite laminate stress and strain analysis, bondline and flange stress analysis, failure loads
HyperSizer Pro
Commercial, Collier Research Corp.
Structural failure analysis for beams, panels, and joints, coupled with FEA model
MSC Nastran
Commercial, MSC Software
FEA solver to simulate stress, dynamics, or vibration of complex systems

Thermodynamic/ Thermochemical Analysis

Commercial, ANSYS
Chemical application simulation
Free, Chris Morley
Combustion equilibrium analysis
Commercial (by request), SpaceWorks Software
Preliminary design of reusable, non-ablative TPS Systems
Commercial, C&R Technologies
Heat transfer and fluid flow design software
Thermal Desktop
Commercial, C&R Technologies
Thermal models for electronics and vehicles, integration with CAD

Aerodynamic Analysis

Commercial, ANSYS
Flow, turbulence, and heat transfer analysis
Athena Vortex Lattice (AVL)
Free, Mark Drela
Aerodynamic and flight-dynamic analysis of rigid aircraft of arbitrary configurations
Commercial, Symscape
CFD tool with GUI, native on Mac
Gov't request, NASA Ames
Inviscid aerodynamic analysis
Digital DATCOM
Free, openAE
Static and dynamic stability
Free, OpenCFD
Lagrangian, thermophysical, turbulence modeling with meshing capabilities
OpenVSP (Vehicle Sketch Pad)
Free, NASA and OpenVSP Group
Open source parametric aircraft modeling tool with links to VSPAero
Gov't request, AFRL
Aerodynamic analysis of complex arbitrary 3D shapes utilizing engineering level methods
Commercial, Software Cradle
Unstructured mesh CFD software
Commercial, Software Cradle
Structured mesh thermal fluid analysis
Commercial, Flight Level Engineering
Aircraft geometry and CFD analysis
Wind Tunnel for iOS
Commercial, Guillaume Rizk
iPhone/iPad app for flow visualization given user drawn test objects
Free, openAE
Airfoil analysis under different flows and angles of attack

Integrated Design Frameworks

Adaptive Modeling Language (AML)
Commercial, TechnoSoft
Multidisciplinary modeling framework
Commercial, Dassault Systèmes
Framework for evaluation of design alternatives and optimization of design performance
Commercial, Phoenix Integration
Engineering framework that allows for analysis automation and design optimization

Cost Analysis Tools

NASA Project Cost Estimating Capability (PCEC)
Gov't request, NASA
Parametric cost-estimating tool using historical space data
NASA Instrument Cost Model (NICM)
Gov't request, NASA/JPL
Predictor of instrument development cost based on historical cost data
Commercial (by request), SpaceWorks Software
Automated wrapper generation for NAFCOM to be implemented into ModelCenter
Commercial, Galorath
Lifecycle cost estimate for hardware, electronics, and other systems
Commercial, Galorath
Lifecycle cost estimate for software development programs
Space Operations Cost Model (SOCM)
Gov't request, NASA Johnson
Parametric relationships based on historical operations cost data