Rendezvous and Docking Sensor Suite
Small Business Information
6767 Old Madison Pike, Suite 410, Huntsville, AL, 35806
AbstractIn recent decades, NASA?s interest in spacecraft rendezvous and proximity operations has grown. Additional instrumentation is needed to improve manned docking operations? safety, as well as to enable telerobotic operation of spacecraft or completely autonomous rendezvous and docking. To address this need, we propose a suite of active sensors that will provide range and bearing information to a docking craft at distances of kilometers, and will provide 6-degree-of-freedom information at distances of hundreds of meters. The suite of sensors will include NASA?s Advanced Video Guidance Sensor (AVGS) for short-range operations, and will build on that sensor?s flight heritage by adding a laser range and bearing finder (RBF). There is a need for a laser RBF that can operate to distances of 5 km; currently, no such space-qualified RBF exists. For this reason we propose building a wide-angle laser RBF. The wide angle removes the need for scanning systems such as gimbals, eliminating moving parts and making the sensor simpler and space qualification easier. The RBF will work from 5 km in to distances on the order of tens of meters, an operating range that will allow it to mesh with AVGS, and with a range accuracy of 1 m.
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