STK 12.1 is stuffed with over 60 new features and improvements, including enhanced glTF support for 3D visualization, expanded hypersonic modeling capabilities for STK Aviator, and the direct integration of the VOACAP High Frequency model for STK Communications and STK Radar.

  • New visualization enhancements, including support for complex glTF 3D model animations. Watch this three-minute video overview.
  • HF skywave propagation for STK Communications and STK Radarthrough a direct integration of the VOACAP model. Learn more in this 20-minute webinar.
  • More high-fidelity propagation options for STK Astrogator, including the N-plate atmospheric drag model to match the SRP model that we introduced in STK 11.7. We’ve also added variable area for both the drag and SRP models.
  • Hypersonic thermal-load analysis for STK Aviator.
  • Create standard STK objects from STK Aviator catalog data, including aeronautical data points in DAFIF and ARINC datasets.
  • Native support for Scalable Network’s Exata network emulator, including a refreshed QualNet interface that is now called the Scalable Networks Simulation Interface. Learn more in this 30-minute webinar.
  • A native Python API for integration with STK and STK Engine. This is a cross-platform API, so you can reuse code for STK Engine on Windows or Linux without modification.

STK 12.1 Overview

Episode 42 of AGI Geeks provides an overview of the new features in STK 12.1.

Important New Features

Visualization enhancements

STK 12.1 introduces support for complex glTF 3D model animations, including glTF animations authored in software tools like Blender. You can now orchestrate a series of animations of individual moving parts in glTF models. A single articulation value is enough to drive the entire sequence. For example, you could animate the deployment of an array of satellite solar panels with a single cue.

STK 12.1 also introduces support for glTF skinning, which enables you to model organic, life-like motions for humanoid characters and other objects with “skin and bones.” From a running soldier to a solar sail unfurling in space, the ability to deform, rather than reposition, 3D model elements creates thrilling new possibilities for storytelling.

And, a new Water Surface option supports realistic visualizations of maritime scenarios, including waves that move along a ship’s hull.

HF skywave propagation with VOACAP

STK 12.1 now models HF propagation with a direct integration of the VOACAP model. The VOACAP model in STK computes the transmission loss encountered from skywave propagation, which is the ability of the ionosphere to "bend," or refract, HF transmissions back down to the ground across very long distances. VOACAP accounts for the variations in this effect that result from the 11-year solar cycle, seasonal fluctuations, and other modifiers, enabling you to determine the best frequency to use at any point in time. The VOACAP model also accounts for antenna directionality, providing you with ideal transmission and reception angles. VOACAP model into STK Communications and STK Radar and is fully integrated with STK’s reporting and graphing tools.

VOACAP (Voice of America Coverage Analysis Program) is HF propagation prediction software from the National Telecommunications and Information Administration’s Institute for Telecommunications Sciences (NTIA/ITS), originally developed for Voice of America.

Hypersonic thermal-load analysis

STK Aviator 12.1 provides support for plugin thermal performance models that employ a variety of standard techniques to determine heat flux, heat load, and wall temperatures for any Aviator trajectory (including external ephemeris from a VGTPoint procedure). This kind of modeling is essential for both vehicle design and the analysis of offensive and defensive systems and tactics, since aerodynamic heating plays a significant role in a vehicle’s signature. Aviator provides a standard model based on NASA TFAWS work. You can override the coefficients of this model to match it to a CFD model, so that you can apply the CFD model rapidly across a full trajectory.

Create STK objects from Aviator objects

With STK Aviator 12.1, you can now generate STK static objects (targets, facilities, etc.) from airports, runways, NAVAIDs and helipads. These objects support analysis just like objects that you create by any other method. This makes it easy to model and analyze locations and facilities derived from the hundreds of thousands of worldwide aeronautical data points available from DAFIF and ARINC datasets.

Refreshed STK QualNet interface

STK 12.1 adds native support for Scalable Network’s Exata network emulator. The QualNet Interface has consequently been renamed as the Scalable Networks Simulation Interface. You can now leverage both QualNet and Exata directly within STK.

Enhanced Astrogator-ODTK integration

STK Astrogator 12.1 contains new models for high-fidelity orbit propagation including the N-plate atmospheric drag model to match the solar radiation pressure model that was introduced in STK 11.7. This reflects our ongoing efforts to expand the capabilities of our flight dynamics tools and make interactions between them as seamless as possible.

Image from STK Astrogator, AGI