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Proceedings Paper

Microgravity monitoring instrument development and application to vernier guidance, navigation, and vehicle control
Author(s): Joseph J. Howell
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Paper Abstract

The fact that a spacecraft traveling through the 'vacuum' of space conforms to the classical Keplerian ellipse has recently been disproven. It is now well known that such a vehicle is acted on by many external forces such as drag in the rarefied particle atmosphere, solar wind and particle impact. This paper discusses the development of sensors and sensor systems to measure these minute forces of acceleration/deceleration. Four systems will be discussed: a 10 exp -4 g system, a 10 exp -6 g system, a 10 exp -(6-8) g system and a 10 exp -9 g system. The design of each system will be explained along with the advantages/disadvantages of each. Various applications unique to each system will be discussed. Configurations, design schemes, test plans and calibration procedures, both in the ground laboratory and inflight, will be presented. The current design/development/operational status of each system will be examined and future plans discussed. Application to aerodynamic studies and vernier guidance, navigation, and vehicle control will also be examined.

Paper Details

Date Published: 1 July 1992
PDF: 12 pages
Proc. SPIE 1694, Sensors and Sensor Systems for Guidance and Navigation II, (1 July 1992); doi: 10.1117/12.138142
Show Author Affiliations
Joseph J. Howell, NASA Langley Research Ctr. (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 1694:
Sensors and Sensor Systems for Guidance and Navigation II
Sharon S. Welch, Editor(s)

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