Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Computer Engineering


Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering

First Advisor

Martin Stytz, PhD


The Space Modeler is the first truly immersive virtual environment that models the solar system, models satellites in near-Earth orbit, and can operate in a Distributed Interactive Simulation (DIS) environment. It increases the capabilities of the 1993 Satellite Modeler by expanding the physical limits of the environment and by implementing a new three-dimensional user interface. Satellite orbits are modeled using NASA two line element sets. The positions of the Sun, Moon and planets are computed using an algorithm based on planetary orbital element sets using a linear polynomial fit. For higher precision, the planetary orbits can be computed using an algorithm based on VSOP87 planetary theory. The user interface is a three-dimensional array of panels, with buttons for controlling all aspects of the environment. The interface is easily accessible to an immersed user, and provides interactive movement controls for five. degrees of freedom, attachment to objects in the environment, setting the rate at which the simulation runs, and toggling the display of all visual features. The Space Modeler can model the solar system and render up to 50 satellites in near-Earth orbit using magnetic head tracking with a 20-30 Hz frame update rate.

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The author's Vita page is omitted.