ADBSat: Methodology of a novel panel method tool for aerodynamic analysis of satellites
ADBSat is a novel software that determines the aerodynamic properties of any body in free-molecular flow. Its main advantage is the fast approximation of the aerodynamics of spacecraft in the lower end of the low-Earth orbit altitude range. It is a novel implementation of a panel method, where the body is represented as a set of fundamental elements and the sum of their individual aerodynamic properties makes up the properties of the whole. ADBSat's approach treats the shape as a set of flat triangular plates. These are read from a CAD geometry file in the Wavefront format, which can be created with most common CAD programs. A choice of gas-surface interaction models is available to represent the physics of free-molecular flow under different conditions. Its modular design means that other models can be easily and quickly implemented. It also benefits from a new shading algorithm for fast determination of elemental flow exposure. An example case is presented to show the capability and functionality of the program.