Outer space -- Exploration -- Computer simulation, Outer space -- Exploration -- Interactive multimedia, Radio wave propagation


The National Aeronautics and Space Administration maintains a challenging schedule of planned and on-going space exploration missions that extend to the outer reaches of our galaxy. New missions represent a huge investment, in terms of actual costs for equipment and support infrastructure, and personnel training. The success of a mission is critical considering both the monetary investment, and for manned missions, the lives which are put at risk. Tragedies involving Challenger, Columbia, Apollo 7, and the near tragedy of Apollo 13 exemplify that space exploration is a dangerous endeavor, posing extreme environmental conditions on both equipment and personnel. NASA, the National Science Foundation' and numerous independent researchers indicate that predictive simulations have the potential to decrease risk and increase efficiency and effectiveness in space exploration activity. Simulations provide the capability to conduct planning and rehearsal of missions, allowing risk reducing designs and techniques to be discovered and tested. Real-time simulations may improve the quality of the response in a real-time crisis situation. The US Army developed Layered Terrain Format (LTF) database is a uniquely architected database approach that provides high fidelity representation of terrain and specialized terrain query functions that are optimized to support real-time simulations. This dissertation investigates the question; can the unique LTF database architecture be applied to the general problem of celestial body representation? And if so, what benefits might it bring for mission planners and personnel executing the mission? Due to data limitations, this research investigates these questions through a lunar analog setting iv involving S band and Earth-bound communication signals as might be needed to conduct manned and/or robotic mission on the moon. The target terrain data set includes portions of the Black Point Lava Flow in Arizona which will be used for NASA's 2010 Desert RATS analog studies. Applied Research Associates Inc, the developer of the LTF product, generated Black Point databases and made limited modifications to the LTF Viewer tool, RAVEN, which is used for visualization of the database. Through the results attained during this research it is concluded that LTF product does provide a useful simulation capability which could be used by mission personnel both in pre-mission planning and during mission execution. Additionally, LTF is shown to have application an information system, allowing geospecific data of interest to the mission to be implemented within its layers. The Florida Space Research & Education Grant Program sponsored by FSGC, Space Florida and UCF provided a grant of $31,500 to perform this research.


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Graduation Date





Proctor, Michael


Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


College of Engineering and Computer Science


Industrial Engineering and Management Systems








Release Date

August 2010

Length of Campus-only Access


Access Status

Doctoral Dissertation (Open Access)


Dissertations, Academic -- Engineering and Computer Science, Engineering and Computer Science -- Dissertations, Academic

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Engineering Commons