A Little MVS and TRP History
Jim Bernier - July 1998
The Modularized Vehicle Simulation (MVS) made its debut in the world of simulation in the 1962 time frame at Aerospace Corporation in El Segundo, California with its primary function being the guidance validation of the Titan II Ballistic Missile System. The resources put into this development were not spared and some of the best engineers and programmers of the '60s were asked to make it happen. The first formal piece of documentation I can remember ever seeing was The MVS System Engineering Manual, Volume I , J. C. Peale, Guidance Dynamics Department, Guidance and Control Subdivision, Electronics Division, Aerospace Corporation, March 1966. So, in honor of J. C. Peale and his support staff, I will provide the introduction to MVS right out of the horses mouth. I quote:
"The Modularized Vehicle Simulation (MVS) is a system by which computer programs can be developed from basic building blocks to solve vehicle dynamic problems in an expedient and rigorous manner. These basic building blocks are the modules of the system. The function of a module is very specific; however, the method and amount of required accuracy in the performance of the function are very flexible. Each module is an independent entity in the simulation, and can be considered an autonomous computer program dependent on the other modules only for input..."
This modular concept and the power of concentrating the necessary science in each of the modules of MVS has led me to proclaim in my training classes that, "MVS is a complex mixture of simple concepts." I say this in an effort to retain the interest of the trajectory student and to let them know that it is something on which they can get a solid grip. J. C. Peale also recognizes the importance of holding the user's interest but he emphasizes a key point about the use of the program, one which analysts in this "modern" world or the 1990's seem to forget:
"In order to use the MVS System with maximum efficiency (regarding cost, accuracy, simplicity, etc.) the user must be familiar with the specific function of each of the trajectory simulation modules. This involves a firsthand knowledge of the mathematical concepts and the logical flow of data within the models and between modules."
In other words, you have to do your homework. When I receive complaints about how complicated it is to run the program, I often respond with, "You must have complex programs to solve complex problems!" The other complaint most often heard is, "It's not user friendly!" This is actually true if you think of it in todays terms of mouse clicking and, in fact, progress is being made today to simplify its use, but not what it does and, as I point out in my training classes, "You DO have to be a ROCKET SCIENTIST to understand TRP!"
(Time limits me at present to continue with this history but I plan to continue it as time permits. Please come back when I have had that time - JEB)