Reference frame management and its application to reducing numerical error in simulation

Satchidanand A. Kalaver, Amy R. Pritchett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


This paper examines novel methods for the definition and management of reference frames in simulation software architectures. Reference frames are critical to aerospace dynamic models: they define the motion parameters of the vehicles and can affect model fidelity and numerical error within the simulation. This paper documents how reference frames can be defined as unique entities within the simulation software architecture, and how they can be centrally managed to create a shared simulation environment. The reference frame manager provides a central mechanism for transformations between reference frames and for selection of reference frames during runtime to meet fidelity requirements. The reference frame manager can also introduce intermediate frames that reduce numerical error by several orders of magnitude at very small time steps. This result can ensure a large degree of numerical accuracy in long-duration simulation runs, expanding the potential use of computer-based simulation in the aerospace industry.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)137-153
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Aerospace Computing, Information and Communication
Issue numberMAR.
StatePublished - Mar 2004

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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