Contact Us

General Inquiry: Associate Director, Engineering Directorate
Phone: 281.483.8991

Mailing Address:
National Aeronautics & Space Administration
Johnson Space Center
Mail Code: EA
2101 NASA Parkway
Houston, Texas 77058

JSC Engineering Web Address:

Test Facilities Guide

Engineering Test Facilities Guide

Download the Engineering Test Facilities Guide (PDF).

Download PDF

Partners In

ISS with blue sky

International Space Station

Space Station Collaborators

Robotics and Human Hand

Technology Transfer

Innovative Partnerships Program (IPP)

Six-Degree-of-Freedom Dynamic Test System

    Six-Degree-of-Freedom Dynamic Test SystemSix-Degree-of-Freedom Dynamic Test System
    Photo credit: NASA

    Located in at the NASA Johnson Space Center in Houston, TX, the Six-Degree-of-Freedom Dynamic Test System (SDTS) is a real-time, six degree-of-freedom, short range motion base simulator originally designed to simulate the relative dynamics of two bodies in space mating together (i.e., docking or berthing). The SDTS has the capability to test full scale docking and berthing systems

    • Repositionable, stationary upper platform
    • Motion base is a hydraulic powered Stewart platform, capable of supporting a 3,500 lb payload

    Simulation is controlled by interconnected computers running real-time simulation software. The motion base can also be used for non-mating applications (e.g., docking sensors, instruments, etc.).

    SDTS High Definition Video System (HDVS)

    The SDTS High Definition Video System (HDVS) video provides monitoring and recording of test activities in the SDTS The HDVS is comprised of two separate camera systems:
    • Four Iconix cameras, used primarily to view test articles, can provide detailed, close up video
    • Two Panasonic cameras, with pan, tilt and zoom capability, provide test overview monitoring

    Three 17” Panasonic monitors provide viewing for the Digital Control System (DCS) Operator and the Test Director. One 52" HD monitor provides viewing for test observers. All camera system views are recorded on P2 flash memory modules. Video files can be post processed and archived to portable hard drives. A GPS clock receiver and IRIG time inserters provide synchronized time information for each camera view recorded.

    SDTS Motion Table Specifications

    Payload Capacity 3,500 lbm
    Lateral Motion Range (avg.) ±40 inches
    Lateral Motion Range (Peak) ±62 inches
    Vertical Motion Range (max.) 124 inches
    Angular Motion Range ±20 degrees
    Data Channels Available (Analog) 96
    Motion Table Bandwidth (Typical) 8 Hertz
    Inner Control Loop (DCS) (Typical) 800 Hertz
    Outer Control Loop (SimHost) (Typical) 200 Hertz
    Delay at Max Ramp Start (Typical) 40 millisecond
    Position Error (Typical)  0.03 inches
    Incremental Accuracy (Typical) 0.006 inches
    Absolute Accuracy (Typical) ±0.01 inches
    Horizontal Roller Assembly 5 Positions 16, 20, 26, 30, 31 feet tall

    Cartesian Measurement Devices

    Optotrak 6 degrees of freedom, 0.1 mm resolution (0.004 inches)
    4.7 m x 2.6 m x 3.6 m capture envelope
    Data rate up to 400 Hz
    Leica Laser Tracker 6 DoF, 0.001 inches static accuracy
    0.002 to 0.010 inches dynamic accuracy
    15 m measurement volume

Technical Point of Contact

Featured Engineering Projects