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rendezvous and proximity operations of the space shuttleSpace Shuttle rendezvous missions present unique challenges that were not fully recognized when the Shuttle was designed. Rendezvous targets could be passive (i.e., no lights or transponders), and not designed to facilitate Shuttle rendezvous, proximity operations, and retrieval. Shuttle reaction control system jet plume impingement on target spacecraft presented induced dynamics, structural loading, and contamination concerns. These issues, along with limited reaction control system propellant in the Shuttle nose, drove a change from the legacy Gemini/Apollo coelliptic profile to a stable orbit profile, and the development of new proximity operations techniques. Multiple scientific and on-orbit servicing missions, and crew exchange, assembly and replenishment flights to Mir and to the International Space Station drove further profile and piloting technique changes. These changes included new proximity operations, relative navigation sensors, and new computer generated piloting cues. However, the Shuttle's baseline rendezvous navigation system has not required modification to place the Shuttle at the proximity operations initiation point for all rendezvous missions flown.
Document ID
Document Type
Preprint (Draft being sent to journal)
Goodman, John L.
(United Space Alliance Houston, TX, United States)
Date Acquired
August 23, 2013
Publication Date
July 21, 2005
Subject Category
Space Transportation and Safety
Funding Number(s)
Distribution Limits
Public Use Permitted.

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