Autonomous Rendezvous and Docking Techniques
Cybernet developed computer-vision-based technology to automate redezvous and docking of spacecraft to support unmanned resupply. The technology matches target spacecraft images with pre-stored 3D geometry representing the target spacecraft (or parts of it as the chase spacecraft gets into very close proximity) to determine misalignment errors in 6 degrees of freedom in real time. This work builds on over 20 years of past Cybernet engineering expertise exploring alternative rendezvous and docking sensor concepts, including 3D computer vision, Ladar, active and passive beacons, GPS, and INS systems. This work resutlted in a ground-based demonstration of real-time identification, tracking, and latch-up.