Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources


Lane Department of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering

Committee Chair

Powsiri Klinkhachorn

Committee Member

Thirimachos Bourlai

Committee Member

Jeremy Dawson

Committee Member

Jason Gross

Committee Member

Roy Nutter


Software-only-Simulation Test Beds (SoST) are beginning to become more popular among aircraft, spacecraft, and smallsat embedded system developers due to the high cost of duplicating hardware test beds.

SoSTs provide a software-only, or virtual test bed, that creates a “digital twin” that contains software models of the ETUs and often includes modeled components such as flight computers, busses (e.g., MIL-STD-1553, SPI, I2C), compact PCI (cPCI) backplane cards, sensors, and actuators. The ultimate goal of a SoST is for it to run the native system software compiled-binary on its native CPU architecture (e.g., PowerPC, LEON3/4, ARM) on a standard X86 personal computer/laptop without needing to recompile for X86. This methodology maintains the “Test-As-You-Fly” approach and is a powerful capability when used in tandem with hardware ETU test beds.

SoST integration into large projects is beginning to increase, with benefits being immediately realized. When implemented correctly, both technically and managerially, SoSTs can help solve the hardware “scarce resource” problem by providing a nearly unlimited test resource that can be utilized for earlier software unit testing, integration testing, and operator training, which results in schedule relief and improved quality and mission assurance.

This dissertation focuses on developing the first SoST process guide using several past spacecraft missions and smallsat missions as examples. Also, West Virginia’s first spacecraft, Simulation-To-Flight-1 (STF-1), and its accompanying SoST, among other missions, will be utilized as case-studies and will cover the modeling of flight computers, avionics, dynamic simulators, and ground system components.

Embargo Reason

Publication Pending