ADBSat: Verification and validation of a novel panel method for quick aerodynamic analysis of satellites

Luciana A. Sinpetru, Nicholas H. Crisp, Peter C.E. Roberts, Valeria Sulliotti-Linner, Virginia Hanessian, Georg H. Herdrich, Francesco Romano, Daniel Garcia-Alminana, Silvia Rodriguez-Donaire, Simon Seminari

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We present the validation of ADBSat, a novel implementation of the panel method including a fast pseudo-shading algorithm, that can quickly and accurately determine the forces and torques on satellites in free-molecular flow. Our main method of validation is comparing test cases between ADBSat, the current de facto standard of direct simulation Monte Carlo (DSMC), and published literature. ADBSat exhibits a significantly shorter runtime than DSMC and performs well, except where deep concavities are present in the satellite models. The shading algorithm also experiences problems when a large proportion of the satellite surface area is oriented parallel to the flow, but this can be mitigated by examining the body at small angles to this configuration (± 0.1◦). We recommend that an error interval on ADBSat outputs of up to 3% is adopted. Therefore, ADBSat is a suitable tool for quickly determining the aerodynamic characteristics of a wide range of satellite geometries in different environmental conditions in VLEO. It can also be used in a complementary manner to identify cases that warrant further investigation using other numerical-based methods.
Original languageEnglish
JournalComputer Physics Communications
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 21 Feb 2022


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