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Need a super-computer? Got an idea for sub-project on platform?

Constellation is a platform for your aerospace related simulations!
Please contact us, if you need computing power for your own simulation.

If you don't have an own idea there are possible project-ideas from users in our forum waiting to be realised.

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Project Motivation:

In particular in aerospace sciences simulation and optimization are major tasks to minimize structure weight, to maximize thrust or todetermine system reliability. These numerical tasks need a high level of resources and hardware-support and Constellation platform offers distributed computing power to projects from professionals to students to solve their problems in an adequate time without the need to maintain their own super-computer or cluster system. In this way it is possible to get access to the needed computingpower by a wider range of researchers who wouldn't have been ableto create those resources because of financial, administration and operation or because of bureaucracy reasons. Constellation's goal is to expedite fundamental and applicable research and bonding researchers with citizen scientists and public.

Source: linked

Project Implementation:

As a DGLR (german aerospace society) academic student team at the University of Stuttgart, Germany, we set up a distributed super-computer that offers computing power by idle single desktop computers of volunteers connected via the internet. This accumulated computing power is provided to aerospace research purposes, that universities and private research institutions and projects normally can't afford. With this approach we demonstrate the capability of synergetic co-operation of scientists and scientific enthused ordinary persons. In contrast to classic super-computers, that have high acquisition-, maintenance- and operation-costs and aren't state of the art after just a few years, our Constellation computer is a worldwide distributed, continuously and dynamically evolving system with high heterogeneity in which anyone can participate who runs a computer with Windows, Linux or Mac OS X operating system. This high performance is used to solve aerospace related tasks, such as trajectory optimization (application: TrackJack). Constellation is in its late closed test-phase and will go public in the near future. Even during test-phase 550 participating machines generated approx. 120*10^9 FLoating point OPerations per Second (120 GFLOPS). When going public it can be assumed that the amount of participating machines will increase up to 5000 with about 10 TFLOPS in one Year (reference data from RNA-World, another e.V. project). The Constellation computer represents a remarkable performance that is by far superior to high-performance clusters and it increases daily. In this way hundreds of trajectories can be simulated and optimized depending in the task's complexity per day. Participating users can follow their contribution in a clearly arranged webinterface. Finished results will be send back automatically and can be archived by the sub-projects scientists. Operation and maintenance of this system requires expenditure of time during user support, who post a variety of questions on our online-forum, so that besides the scientific aspect the project has a very interesting educational component („science & society“).


There are three applications as sub-projects on the Constellationplatform.


Ascend trajectory simulation and optimizer for space-launcher systems and space-crafts. TrackJack's origin is part of a diploma thesis in Aerospace Engineering at the University of Applied Sciences Bremen.

Contact Andreas Hornig for details.

Trajectory Optimization 101

In the current version TrackJack is able to find an ascent trajectory (flight path) for a launcher rocket into the target orbit.
This is done according to the equations of motion on a 2D plane. The finder algorithm changes the thrust vector, that controlls the steered direction, and finds the best thrust vector angle at any discrete time-step. This is repeated for each time-step until all thrust vector angles are found for the complete flight-time and the controll-function is formed.
The found control-function leads to a continous trajectory between the existing boundary values for start and target conditions and is done in respect to gravity turn condition and aerodynamic drag. This is important to minimize the lost thrust for steering that can't be used for direct translative acceleration, because gravity will bend the rocket's trajectory. By only fulfilling gravity turn condition it would bend the trajectory to tangent into deeper atmosperic regions, so the atmosphere will lead to a high aerodynamic drag that will decellerate the rocket. So the finder algorithm will find a trajectory that is a compromise between these and even more conditions.

Scientific Goal and Future Features

TrackJack's goal is to solve problems during ascent, interplanetary and re-entry trajectories.
The first step will be to validate data analysed for the diploma thesis this app derived from to be sure, that the BOINC-app will lead to correct results.
The next step will be to add new features to TrackJack that will allow new trajectory forms like interplanetary missions and re-entry paths. One of the first added features is thrust-profile finder for the sounding rocket that is designed by DGLR-Group HyEnD - Hybrid Engine Development. The maximum altitude of the sounding rocket is optimized by combinatorical variegating the thrust level at discrete gridpoints near the speed of sound (Ma = 1).

The App

TrackJack is a single-core application using Java JRE (Java Runtime Environment) and 7-Zip compression for app and workunits.

On The Moon:

On The Moon aims to simulate the process occurring at moon near the surface. It is a large scale simulation aiming to create a total model of the moon system, and to compare it with data collected from the Google Lunar X-PRIZE (GLXP) mission.

Contact Sayandeep Khan for details.

Extreme Machine:

The idea behind extreme machines is not to create a huge, multimillion ton machine, rather an extremely optimized device, under the realms of very classical mechanics, to perform specific tasks.

Presently the project is handling the following:

  1. Simulation of a wheel, optimized for performing in lunar environment. From Lunakhod and the Apollos, it is known, that a slowly turning, deformable wheel perform best in lunar regolith, but no detail model exists. This wheel, is being developed as part of the developments carried out by Team Synergy Moon, google lunar x prize team
  2. The other idea is to test the limits of classical physics. Although probably the last unsolved problem in the classical mechanics we know is the search for smooth sollution of NS equation in turbulant flow, extraterrestrial material might offer us a new challenge. The moon material is relative less well studied than material from earth.

    We want to compare the results of our simulation with the real performance of the MoonRover, perhaps that will show us how material interacts in lunar environment, and give us more insight in classical physics.
Contact Sayandeep Khan for details.


Even though a lot of aerospace projects sound like science-fiction we lay emphasis on applicable and fundamental work that will influence current research. So the participants will be involved directly and success in research can be fed back to the community to gratify the users. That leads to a good atmosphere and long-time participation. Constellation as a platform will leave it to the subprojects to openly publish parts or the complete results.


Currently the BOINC infrastructure Constellation uses supports independent workunits. The above applications respect this limit by using splitted tasks as workunits that don't rely on other workunits' result.
But there are aerospace tasks, like in computational fluid dynamics (CFD), that are only feasible when the complete tasks is solved in parallel to finish in a decent time. Therefore Constellation is working to extend the system to combine the advantages of distributed computing system with that of parallel clusters to create a virtual cluster where nodes are connected via the internet.
We work together with Volpex Group at University of Houston to bring parallel execution to Constellation and to other BOINC projects, and we examine MAGE of University of Marburg as an additional candidate.
We want to use parallel execution for CFD analysis. We want to use OpenFOAM because it's used in the scientific and academic community, it offers a wide range of solvers and the main reason is that its GNU General Public License allows the use in a distributed environment. In comparison Ansys' powerful CFX and FLUENT programmes use a proprietary software licence that makes it difficult to use outside the given licence agreement.
For Constellation a CFD application is intended to be used in aerodynamics and stability simulation, in engine combustion analysis for micro- and jet engines, in ramjet, scramjet and pulse detonation engine and rocket engines and motors and many more. We want to open up this important field of parallel execution for distributed computing.


Dotsch_UX Operating System

BOINC (Berkeley Open Interface for Network Computing)

TrackJack (active)

BOINC wrapper app

Java Runtime Environment (JRE)



Checkpointing progress

Extreme Machines & On The Moon (development)

BOINC wrapper app

Scilab open source, cross-platform and high-level, numerically oriented programming language

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