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Virtual Environment for Space and Terrestrial Applications

VESTA is an open-source graphical 3D engine for animation of space scenarios, visualization of mission analysis results and managerial presentations. VESTA has been designed to offer a freely available graphics engine that can be incorporated into any software package, no matter if it is open-source or commercial closed-source software.

VESTA comprises a programming interface that is compatible with a variety of languages like C++, Java, Python and many more. With VESTA space scenarios can be presented in a lifelike manner, with an accurate representation of celestial bodies, spacecrafts, shadows, lights and clouds. The particle system of VESTA allows the visualisation of gases and fluids like exhausts.

With high-detailed texture data and models of on-ground facilities VESTA becomes suitable also for terrestrial applications.

Besides the realistic view on the mission VESTA provides a lot of visual aids:

  • Celestial grid
  • Planes, e.g. for the ecliptic
  • Coordinate frames
  • Vectors, e.g. for velocities or forces
  • Cones, e.g. for antenna lobes or a sensor's field of view
  • Overlaid textures for planets, e.g. to show the population density
  • Markers for points of interest
  • Uncertainty volumes
  • Trajectories
  • Icons and labels in the screen pane, e.g. to display the current time
All of these visual aids may be adapted to the user's requirements, either by the existing class methods or by creating a derived class.

The goal behind the VESTA project was to create freely available software that can be incorporated into any commercial product. The project shall benefit from the expertise of numerous potential voluntary developers that might contribute to the project. VESTA is available under the Astos Solutions Free Public License. Please read the license conditions carefully if you plan to use VESTA for your own project.

VESTA screenshot 1
Screenshot of VESTA showing shadowing, clouds and atmospheric scattering

VESTA screenshot 2 Screenshot of VESTA showing an application of its particle stream engine. The particle stream may be adapted to any kind of exhaust.