Large space structures are capable of large thermal deformations in the space environment. A case of large-scale thermal deformation was observed in the analysis of the Near Earth Asteroid Scout solar sail, with predicted tip displacements of more than one meter in seven-meter booms. Experimental data supports the broad conclusions of the analysis, but shows poor agreement on the details of the thermal deformation. Prediction that is precise enough to drive engineering decisions will require coupled thermal-stress analysis with features that are not found in current multiphysics codes.

Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC) has been developing a framework of additional analysis capabilities to aid in the verification, development, and execution of thermal models using the OpenTD Application Programming Interface (API). This paper provides a brief overview of the data structures, properties, methods, and relationships between the objects accessible through the current API and describes some of the algorithms necessary to implement the desired functions at GSFC. Some example code snippets are also provided to aid potential users in the development of their own utilities.

With the release of Thermal Desktop 6.0, users now had the ability to interface with some of the many elements and constructs of a Thermal Desktop model through external applications developed using the TD API (Application Programming Interface). This file allows applications to be developed in the .NET framework and interface to a number of object types within a Thermal Desktop model. The release of 6.1 expands the subset of objects able to be manipulated and now includes the raw geometrical information of surfaces. With the release of 6.1, the API was now referred to as OpenTD.