Shadow Tracking

Using RadCAD® for Shadow Tracking

Using the Monte Carlo ray tracing capabilities in RadCAD, Olivier Godard and Tejas Shah came up with this visual simulation of tracking the shadow of the International Space Station (ISS) on the belly of the Space Shuttle. The Shuttle is oriented with the payload bay doors looking nadir (facing earth) while the ISS, traveling at the same speed at a slightly higher altitude, passes over the belly of the shuttle blocking the sun's light.

ISS shadow tracking across the orbiter

The image has been postprocessed in RadCAD with the scale on the left representing the nodal heat flux, the view being the shuttle belly. The color scale maximum is 1354 W/m2 which represents full solar heating. As the ISS passes over the shuttle, the resulting shadow or blockage is displayed by the blue color (0 W/m2).

This simulation could have been performed using a raytracer for animated movie rendering but the advantage of RadCAD is that you can obtain a similar result directly applicable for other thermal related computations.

This example of using RadCAD to track IR and solar shadowing has been provided by Igor Carron of the Spacecraft Technology Center at Texas A&M University.

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