Ascent guidance for a satellite rendezvous.

by T. B. Garber


Purchase Print Copy

 FormatList Price Price
Add to Cart Paperback24 pages $15.00 $12.00 20% Web Discount

A discussion of the problem of guiding a vehicle to a rendezvous with a space platform or satellite. Rendezvous not only requires matching vehicle and satellite positions, but the two velocity vectors must also be identical. A further complication is that the geometric relationship between a given launch site and the satellite is a function of time. As a consequence, the ascent trajectory is generally nonplanar, and the time of launch is a critical factor. For an ideal rendezvous, the vehicle must be guided so that at the end of propulsion its three components of velocity and position are the same as the corresponding satellite variables. In practice, the residual errors in position and velocity at the end of the ascent phase serve as the initial conditions for a terminal guidance period during which the vehicle is brought into proximity with the satellite.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation Paper series. The paper was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1948 to 2003 that captured speeches, memorials, and derivative research, usually prepared on authors' own time and meant to be the scholarly or scientific contribution of individual authors to their professional fields. Papers were less formal than reports and did not require rigorous peer review.

Our mission to help improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis is enabled through our core values of quality and objectivity and our unwavering commitment to the highest level of integrity and ethical behavior. To help ensure our research and analysis are rigorous, objective, and nonpartisan, we subject our research publications to a robust and exacting quality-assurance process; avoid both the appearance and reality of financial and other conflicts of interest through staff training, project screening, and a policy of mandatory disclosure; and pursue transparency in our research engagements through our commitment to the open publication of our research findings and recommendations, disclosure of the source of funding of published research, and policies to ensure intellectual independence. For more information, visit

The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.