What is it about?

In the process of spacecraft docking, the distance between them change widely. Elements of a docking target (retroreflectors) are illuminated by a laser. Wherein the power of light reflecting by retroreflectors changes by many orders of magnitude. The commonly used for calculating the reflected radiation method based on the cross-section of retroreflectors, at distances of up to 1000 m give a very large error. The article proposed to use more accurate reflected radiation calculations based on the theory of diffraction.

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Why is it important?

Large errors in calculating the reflected energy of optical radiation lead to an inadequate choice of parameters of the optical docking system during its design, which increases the cost of developing and experimentally testing the system.


Currently, work is underway to create a television docking system with improved characteristics, in particular, an increased measurement range.

PhD, Associate Professor Vladimir Aleksandrovich Grishin
Space Research Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Corner Retroreflector in Rendezvous and Docking Systems, Journal of Spacecraft and Rockets, November 2019, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA),
DOI: 10.2514/1.a34510.
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