The Environmental Control and Life Support (ECLS) equipment is one of the most sensitive subsystems aboard a manned spacecraft and the ECLSS envisaged for oncoming European programs such as Columbus or Hermes will be very complex in nature. Its development relies on the intense use of computer software during all phases of design and operations.
A modern ECLS system consists of a variety of components and assemblies and contains a number of loop-type structures where components mutually influence each other.
The computer software required to support the ECLSS engineer can be categorised in two groups.
‘Design Software’ is mainly employed on component and assembly level and aids the engineer in reaching the required design point.
‘Simulation Software’ is rather employed on subsystem and system level and allows to analyse a given lay-out or design and to obtain performance data for a wide range of conditions.
With respect to the second type of software one can think of a simulation tool with a broad range of application which could be used for such tasks as design verification, off design analysis, investigation of potential failure scenarios, parameter studies, etc.
The usefulness of such simulation software will be measured by its ability to support engineers in their day-to-day work. This paper is an attempt to compile a set of requirements concerning the analytical and technical capabilities, user friendliness, flexibility, interfacing capability to other simulation software, graphics, and the pre- and postprocessing features.