A Brief Survey of Trajectory, Guidance, and Propulsion Aspects of Orbital Rendezvous

by Hans B. Schechter

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A summary of some problems of orbital rendezvous, as shown in the open literature. The papers are discussed briefly and some of the data compared. The papers are generally of two classes: the first approaches the problem from the point of view of impulsive Keplerian orbital transfers; the second class analyzes the terminal portion of the rendezvous maneuver or, more specifically, the selecting of thrusting and guidance laws required to insure a soft contact between the maneuverable interceptor and the target satellite. The survey points out the need for a more general parametric study of the terminal phase of orbital rendezvous, particularly optimal guidance laws.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation Research memorandum series. The Research Memorandum was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1948 to 1973 that represented working papers meant to report current results of RAND research to appropriate audiences.

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