2019 JPL DARTS Lab Course
August 26-29, 2019
Logistics Details

JPL DARTS Lab Background

The focus of this course is on the multi-mission DARTS/DSHELL simulation framework that is used to model the dynamics of multi-body articulated systems, environments, and autonomous GNC systems. The DARTS/DSHELL framework is the basis for multiple domain specific engineering simulators such as

  • DSENDS for Entry/Descent/Landing systems: DSENDS is used for trajectory analysis, uncertainty quantification and sensitivity analyses for autonomous landing critical events. Customers include EDL tasks for Mars 2020, InSight, Mars Helicopter, MSL, Europa Lander, mission formulation/proposal tasks, and advanced study tasks for Mars, Venus, Titan, Small Bodies, Earth Re-entry capsules, and the Moon, LDSD/ASPIRE and Mars Ascent Vehicle.
  • ROAMS for ground vehicles: ROAMS is used for modeling Mars planetary rovers, mobile robotic platforms such as Athlete and vehicles proposed for lunar surface ops. ROAMS also models vehicles such as HMMWV and Polaris for terrestarial applications.
  • RoboDarts for robotics. RoboDarts is focused on the modeling of multi-limb robotic platforms such as for the DARPA ARM-S program and RoboSimian. Beyond simulation applications, RoboDarts models are also suitable for embedded use for whole-body motion robot control applications.
  • Other: DSHELL simulators are also in active use for closed-loop Small Body Proximity Operation simulation testbeds. DSHELL has also being adopted by the Johnson Space Center's flight ops directorate for the simulation of ISS, SLS/Orion and other human exploration projects. Parts of this toolkit have also been adapted to develop the GNEIMO software for the simulation of bio-molecular systems.

More information on the JPL DARTS Lab and publications can be found at http://dartslab.jpl.nasa.gov. This course is oriented towards new and current users on using the DARTS/DSHELL framework to develop simulators for space and terrestrial platforms. The course will include an in depth look at key concepts and multi-mission modules such as DARTS for dynamics modeling, SimScape for terrain modeling, Dspace for 3D visualization, component data flow DSHELL models and sub-system assemblies, along with the large library of component models for terramechanics, aerodynamics, cameras, high-order gravitational fields, inertial sensors, propulsion systems, rigid/flex body dynamics etc. While the course will largely focus on the generic DARTS/DSHELL framework, examples and interactive Jupyter notebooks from a variety of domain-specific applications will be used for illustration and hands on familiarization with the DARTS/DSHELL simulation software.

This course will not include mission specific ITAR content, and is open to non-US and non-JPL persons. Basic familiarity with the Python language and kinematics of robotic/physical systems is desirable for this class.

Course Information

We are pleased to announce that we have reserved Aug 26-29, 2019 as the dates for the next JPL DARTS Lab course at JPL on the DARTS/DSHELL simulation toolkit for spacecraft, EDL, ground vehicle and robotics simulations.

Details about logistics, what to do when you arrive, remote access via webex, and links to session videos, slides, and Jupyter notebooks from prior courses are available online here.

The prior 2017/2018 courses covered the basics of the DARTS/DSHELL toolkit. The 2019 course will consist of in-depth 3-4 hour sessions on advanced topics. The course will be accessible to new comers (with review of prior online material), and will include new material useful for advanced users. Once again, the course content will include on-line, interactive Jupyter notebooks in addition to slide presentations.

Please email dartslab.course2019admin@jpl.nasa.gov to let us know if you are interested so we can add you to the course mailing list. We hope to see you at the course! Attending remotely by webex will also be availabe (see here). Please help spread the word to colleagues and others who might be interested in this course.

We are planning a dinner on Monday night, August 26, 2019 at 6:30pm. All attendees are invited. Please let us know if you plan to join us for dinner. Guests are welcome. Please let us know if you have any dietary restrictions.

Preliminary Schedule and Topics for the 2019 Course

The course topics currently under consideration are shown in preliminary schedule below (click to access a PDF version):

Contact info

Email: Abhi Jain (jain@jpl.nasa.gov, (818) 636-4794) or

Email: Jonathan Cameron (Jonathan.M.Cameron@jpl.nasa.gov, (818) 354-1189)