In support of both the Space Shuttle and International Space Station programs, a set of generic multibody dynamics algorithms integrated within the Trick Simulation Environment have addressed a variety of on-orbit manipulator simulation requirements for engineering analysis, procedures development and crew familiarization/training at the NASA Johnson Space Center (JSC). Enhancements to these dynamics algorithms are now being driven by a new set of Constellation program requirements for flexible multibody spacecraft simulation. One particular issue that has been discussed within the NASA community is the assumption of cantilever-type flexible body boundary conditions. This assumption has been commonly utilized within manipulator multibody dynamics formulations as it simplifies the computation of relative motion for articulated flexible topologies. Moreover, its use for modeling of space-based manipulators such as the Shuttle Remote Manipulator System (SRMS) and Space Station Remote Manipulator System (SSRMS) has been extensively validated against flight data. For more general flexible spacecraft applications, however, the assumption of cantilever-type boundary conditions may not be sufficient. This paper describes the boundary condition assumptions that were used in the original formulation, demonstrates that these equations can be augmented to accommodate systems in which the assumption of cantilever boundary conditions no longer applies, and verifies the approach through comparison with an independent model previously validated against experimental hardware test data from a spacecraft flexible dynamics emulator.

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