Manual Control Aspects of Space Station Docking Maneuvers 901202
Due to an increase in spacecraft traffic forecasted for the space station era, researchers are investigating manual control and other aspects of docking operations with hopes of increasing safety, productivity, and likelihood of success while decreasing cost. Experiments have been performed which revealed the effect of approach velocity, in-flight anomalies, and control mode. Displays have been designed to enable flight planners to more easily overcome the difficulties presented by orbital mechanics. Improved understanding of human factors in the docking mission and other orbital maneuvers will play a significant role in design tradeoffs concerning thruster size, docking fixture style and mass, and on-board trajectory planning displays. Incorporating both empirical and analytic results into current and future planning of missions occurring not only in Earth orbit, but also for missions in lunar and Mars orbit, will expand the performance envelopes of the astronauts who participate in these missions.