Generalized Orbit Rendezvous Research

The goal is to develop a method for orbital rendezvous that is general, efficient, and can be executed autonomously. It is key that this method can be applied to any arbitrary orbits, uses a similar amount of Delva-V to other methods or better, and does not require ground calculation of maneuvers.

The primary applications are for small spacecraft missions, but it could be used for any autonomous mission, and would make operations such as establishing constellations, rendezvous with a target, and on-orbit assembly easier to execute.

Non-Intersecting Orbits Problem

The results for navigating to a non-intersecting orbit show that there is a limit to how far away the target orbit can be from the initial orbit for the rendezvous to be both successful and efficient. The control thrust calculation cannot find a transfer orbit on its own, as it only compares the current and target orbits, so it makes sense that it would perform poorly on rendezvous where a transfer orbit is required. As a result, at least one intermediate orbit would be required to carry out such an orbital rendezvous efficiently, which could be specified in the mission profile or calculated optimally. Therefore, implementing an optimal transfer orbit calculation is the next step in fully generalizing this method.