STK (Systems Tool Kit)

Systems Tool Kit, or STK, is a similar system to ViDI. It is a piece of 3D physics-based modeling software from Ansys Government Initiatives (AGI), and can help simulate virtual versions of real-life missions. Like ViDI, it can also produce simulated imagery from virtual cameras to predict the kind of data SCIFLI will be able to collect. Beyond just pixel resolution, STK can simulate both perfect air-quality conditions and atmospheric turbulence. The brightness of the target can also be estimated, giving sensor operators more information to calibrate their instruments. This can prevent over-saturation caused by over-exposure or low signal-to-noise ratios resulting from an under-exposed image.

Acquiring a target at night, especially when using aircraft that does not have a nose gimbal mount like the WB-57, can be a significant challenge. STK has helped to acquire targets during such missions by simulating a background image of stars at the time and place of the vehicle’s flight. This, especially for capturing a target at horizon break, can be invaluable knowledge for pointing the imaging sensor and collecting as much data as possible.