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Rendezvous Guidance Trajectory Shaping

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1 Author(s)
Allan R. Klumpp ; Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA 91109

The Space Station will bring a great increase in rendezvous traffic. Formerly, rendezvous has been expensive in terms of time and crew involvement. Multiple trajectory adjustments on separate orbits have been required to meet safety, lighting, and geometry requirements. This paper describes a new guidance technique in which the approach trajectory is shaped by a sequence of velocity increments in order to satisfy multiple constraints within a single orbit. The approach phase is planned before the mission, leaving a group of free parameters that are optimized by onboard guidance. Fuel penalties are typically a few percent, compared to unshaped Hohmann transfers, and total fuel costs can be less than those of more time-consuming ways of meeting the same requirements.

Published in:

IEEE Aerospace and Electronic Systems Magazine  (Volume:2 ,  Issue: 2 )