Autonomous Rendezvous and Docking Techniques
Ongoing logistical repair, maintenance, and resupply of space platforms will become a costly and potentially dangerous activity in the post Space Station era. This is primarily driven by the need for more frequent missions, and as the number of missions increases, so does the cumulative probably of failure in the launch, docking, and return phases of the mission. The best defense will be to make substantially larger use of unmanned resupply vehicles that can automatically rendezvous, dock, and lock-up with said platforms without manned intervention. Over the past 20 years, Cybernet engineers have participated in the development of a variety of alternative rendezvous and docking sensor concepts. During this time, we have evaluated many alternative technologies which include 3D computer vision, Ladar, active and passive beacons, GPS, and INS systems. In this effort, we propose to leverage this expertise into demonstrating that 3D computer vision can solve the short-range docking problem. After feasibility is shown with space-acquired imagery, we will design an embedded system that can operate the 3D vision algorithms.
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Cybernet Systems Corporation
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