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Autonomous Rendezvous and Docking Techniques

Award Information

National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Award ID:
Program Year/Program:
2003 / SBIR
Agency Tracking Number:
Solicitation Year:
Solicitation Topic Code:
Solicitation Number:
Small Business Information
Cybernet Systems Corporation
3885 Research Park Drive Ann Arbor, MI 48108-2247
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Woman-Owned: Yes
Minority-Owned: No
HUBZone-Owned: No
Phase 1
Fiscal Year: 2003
Title: Autonomous Rendezvous and Docking Techniques
Agency: NASA
Contract: NAS8-03028
Award Amount: $69,762.00


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.

Principal Investigator:

Joseph Tesar

Business Contact:

Charles J. Cohen,
VP, Research & Development
Small Business Information at Submission:

Cybernet Systems Corporation
727 Airport Boulevard Ann Arbor, MI 48108

EIN/Tax ID: 430924383
Number of Employees:
Woman-Owned: No
Minority-Owned: No
HUBZone-Owned: No