ONBOARD RENDEZVOUS NAVIGATION FOR THE SPACE SHUTTLE

Alan D. Wylie, Howard G. deVenzin

Peer Reviewed

Abstract: The first Space Shuttle rendezvous missions were accomplished in support of the successful Solar Maximum Mission satellite retrieval and repair (STS 41-C), the retrieval and return of two communication satellites (STS 51-A), and the rendezvous with the Syncom IV-3 satellite (STS 51-D). The rendezvous navigation system performance was as good as or better than predicted on all missions. The onboard rendezvous navigation system continuously maintains accurate estimates of the Orbiter and target state vectors during the rendezvous mission phase. These vectors are used onboard to target the maneuvers required to achieve the rendezvous. The navigation outputs are also required to aid the Orbiter tracking sensors in tracking the target and to provide essential navigation information to the crew on the relative navigation display. The onboard rendezvous navigation software package-its inputs, models, characteristics, and outputs-and the rendezvous navigation performance for flight 41-C are summarized. Included is a description of the rendezvous profile showing the relative vehicle geometry and the locations of the navigation sensor tracking arcs and Orbiter maneuvers within the profile. The crew displays and controls and their interfaces with the navigation system are described. The tracking sensors are defined. The method for processing the sensor measurements to update the state vector is summarized. Also, capabilities built into the navigation software to handle contingency situations are discussed. Plots are included to illustrate expected navigation system performance and to demonstrate the actual navigation system performance as observed by the crew during the STS 41-C flight.
Published in: NAVIGATION, Journal of the Institute of Navigation, Volume 32, Number 3
Pages: 197 - 220
Cite this article: Wylie, Alan D., deVenzin, Howard G., "ONBOARD RENDEZVOUS NAVIGATION FOR THE SPACE SHUTTLE", NAVIGATION, Journal of The Institute of Navigation, Vol. 32, No. 3, Fall 1985, pp. 197-220.
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