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Testing AOCS or ESP – Are There Real Differences?

Jörg Bracker (dSPACE GmbH), 
Hagen Haupt (dSPACE GmbH), 
Markus Plöger (dSPACE GmbH), 
Dirk Spenneberg (dSPACE GmbH), 

If one compares Attitude and Orbit Control Systems (AOCS) for satellites and Electronic Stability Systems (ESP) for vehicles superficially, there are not many similarities except that they are both electronic devices for positioning control.
But the technical structures, the development processes and especially the testing processes of these electronic units have many similarities which are important from the point of view of the test system. In both areas, automotive and space, hardware-in-the-loop (HIL) testing is a widely used test and development method.
As a market leader, dSPACE has developed a tool chain that is highly suited for HIL testing in automotive applications. The tool chain includes hardware and software components and focuses especially on test requirements in the automotive field. It is used worldwide in hundreds of installations and has virtually become standard equipment in the development processes of many car manufacturers and component suppliers. This paper describes the use of the HIL tool chain in space applications and shows that many of the requirements for test systems in automotive electronics can also be found in space test systems.
This makes it possible to directly transfer the solutions from one field to the other. Nevertheless, there are differences in the development and test processes, and these give rise to different requirements. These differences are described here, and solutions for a space HIL test system are presented.