A Manual Method for Space Rendezvous
Navigation and Guidance
A general method has been developed by which an astronaut can manually
navigate and guide a spacecraft to rendezvous with an orbiting target.
The method is based entirely on measurements taken with hand-held,
unpowered, optical instruments and manual computations using charts,
graphs, slide rule, and tables.
Navigation (state determination) is performed in a local
vertical coordinate frame using linearized equations of motion to
describe the relative motion of the interceptor.
The use of a known thrust maneuver allows the astronaut to
determine his relative position-velocity state completely from
angle measurements made with a sextant.
The guidance is performed by implementing a flight plan obtained
These charts prescribe in impulsive flight plan which minimizes a linear
combination of required fuel and mission time.
Midcourse and terminal guidance consist of reapplication of the method
based on new measurements.
The effect of errors due to measurements and other sources is analyzed.