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SafeWalk: Software Engineering of a Jetpack Simulator

Kathryn Rohlfing, Cameron Brecount, James I. Lathrop, Robyn R. Lutz, Department of Computer Science, Iowa State University, 2434 Osborn Dr, Ames IA 50011

SafeWalk is a project in the Department of Computer Science at Iowa State University that is developing a simple software simulator of a “jetpack” for teaching and research purposes. SafeWalk involves the simulated self-rescue of an astronaut in space. It is inspired by an actual NASA backpack propulsion unit used by astronauts if their tether fails during a spacewalk.  SafeWalk aims to simulate the close collaboration needed between a human astronaut who uses a hand controller to steer themself back to the space station, the computational components that communicate, monitor, and control fuel and battery levels to achieve this, and the physical components that propel the astronaut to the safety of the airlock. 

The SafeWalk project has developed a variety of software artifacts needed for research into safety-critical cyber-physical systems and product lines. Artifacts that have been developed or are in development include software requirements, software architectural design, detailed design, source code, tests, and documentation, including traceability links. We describe in our poster how we have used the capabilities of the Unity game engine to achieve our simulation goals. The project recently has focused on developing the software needed to simulate the scenario in which an astronaut must return back to a space station if the astronaut’s tether fails during a spacewalk. Project software artifacts are planned for open-source delivery and use.  Early results from using SafeWalk for teaching, prior to its implementation in Unity, were reported in [1]. This research is supported in part by NSF grant 1513717 and its Research Experience for Undergraduates funding. 




Additional Abstract Information

Presenters: Kathryn Rohlfing, Cameron Brecount

Institution: Iowa State University

Type: Poster

Subject: Computer Science

Status: Approved


Time and Location

Session: Poster 5
Date/Time: Tue 12:30pm-1:30pm
Session Number: 4033