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5 August 2003 Demonstration of autonomous rendezvous technology (DART) project summary
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Since the 1960s, NASA has performed numerous rendezvous and docking missions. The common element of all US rendezvous and docking is that the spacecraft has always been piloted by astronauts. Only the Russian Space Program has developed and demonstrated an autonomous capability. The Demonstration of Autonomous Rendezvous Technology (DART) project currently funded under NASA's SPace Launch Initiative (SLI) Cycle I , provides a key step in establishing an autonomous rendezvous capaibility for the United States. The Objective of the DART mission is to demonstrate, in space, the hardware and software necessary for autonomous rendezvous. Orbital Sciences Corporation intends to integrate an Advanced Video Guidance Sensor and Autonomous Rendezvous and Proximity Operations algorithms into a Pegasus upper stage in order to demonstrate the capability to autonomously rendezvous with a target currently in orbit. The DART mission will occur in April 2004. The launch site will be Vandenberg AFB and the launch vehicle will be a Pegasus XL equipped with a Hydrazine Auxiliary Propulsion System 4th Stage. All mission objectives will be completed within a 24 hour period. The paper provides a summary of mission objectives, mission overview and a discussion on the design features of the chase and target vehicles.
© (2003) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.
Timothy E. Rumford "Demonstration of autonomous rendezvous technology (DART) project summary", Proc. SPIE 5088, Space Systems Technology and Operations, (5 August 2003);


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