Collision detection for spacecraft proximity operations
Abstract
The development of a new collision detection algorithm to be used when two spacecraft are operating in the same vicinity is described. The two spacecraft are modeled as unions of convex polyhedra, where the polyhedron resulting from the union may be either convex or nonconvex. The relative motion of the two spacecraft is assumed to be such that one vehicle is moving with constant linear and angular velocity with respect to the other. The algorithm determines if a collision is possible and, if so, predicts the time when the collision will take place. The theoretical basis for the new collision detection algorithm is the Cfunction formulation of the configuration space approach recently introduced by researchers in robotics. Three different types of Cfunctions are defined that model the contacts between the vertices, edges, and faces of the polyhedra representing the two spacecraft. The Cfunctions are shown to be transcendental functions of time for the assumed trajectory of the moving spacecraft. The capabilities of the new algorithm are demonstrated for several example cases.
 Publication:

Ph.D. Thesis
 Pub Date:
 May 1987
 Bibcode:
 1987PhDT........17V
 Keywords:

 Algorithms;
 Collision Parameters;
 Midair Collisions;
 Parameter Identification;
 Spacecraft Trajectories;
 Collision Avoidance;
 Computer Graphics;
 Flight Paths;
 Functions (Mathematics);
 Polyhedrons;
 Proximity;
 Robotics;
 Space Communications, Spacecraft Communications, Command and Tracking