Generalized Orbit Rendezvous
Orbital rendezvous is of fundamental importance to many anticipated missions involving two or more spacecraft. The principle is also relevant for a single spacecraft, where reaching a specific target orbit can be posed as rendezvous with the orbit to be attained at the end of the maneuver. Applications such as on-orbit assembly, resupply of space stations, constellation and formation flying, and navigation to a particular orbit or target are all based upon orbital rendezvous. Consequently, the development of methods of calculating these maneuvers has been a major technological focus of astrodynamics research for many decades.
Small Spacecraft and Orbital Rendezvous
Many emerging goals for space technology and exploration require an efficient autonomous method for calculating orbital rendezvous maneuvers, especially for small spacecraft. Such spacecraft are often built under tight budget and mass constraints, necessarily limiting their capabilities. These spacecraft would benefit greatly from an efficient and autonomous method for orbital rendezvous maneuvers that ensures they can accomplish their mission goals, while remaining robust and within their given constraints. The rise of small spacecraft has further motivated research in autonomous orbital rendezvous techniques in recent years.