Technical Concepts Education

Posted July 27, 2020

Advanced Rendezvous Proximity Operations Course (ARC) is designed to develop space professionals who can comprehend characteristics of satellite orbits, analyze orbital motions and create innovative tactics, techniques and procedures (TTPs) by applying the principles of orbital mechanics to effectively plan and execute orbital rendezvous proximity operations (RPO). This course uses Palski ARC Webtools. . The table below outlines the modules in the course, the objectives of each module, the hands-on projects students will execute as a part of each module as well as an idea of the cadence of this course.

The objective of the first module, Math & Coordinates, is for students to understand required math and coordinates systems. These systems include trigonometry, vector math, inertial coordinates (ECI) and relative coordinates (LVLH, RIC).

Our Inertial Orbits module gives students the tools required to understand the basics of inertial orbits, such as the Keplerian orbital elements and coordinate frames, basic maneuvers, and perturbations.

The Inertial Maneuvers module is designed to promote understanding of inertial maneuver sequence planning for transfer to GEO, movement about/near GEO, setup for templated rendezvous & proximity operations (RPO).

The objective of the Relative Orbits & Lab module is to understand the relative motion of two closely spaced satellites using Hills equations.

Our Satellite Command and Control (C2) and Simulation module provides an introduction to satellite command and control systems and simulators. Students should understand what to look for beyond standard Technical Order training for satellite operations and the use and limitations of simulators.

The Satellite Garage module provides an overview of satellite systems and the functions to accomplish a proximity operations space mission. Students will be able to understand the satellite capabilities, limitations and trades when responding to an off nominal condition.

The Attitude and Propulsion module provides an understanding of satellite attitude determination and control. A focus of the course is how two satellites in close proximity need to operate in a manner to not perturb the other satellite.

Our Power Systems module engenders an understanding of satellite power generation, storage, usage and balance.

The RF Communication Systems module will help students understand the limitations and interactions of communications systems.

The objective of the Estimation Basics module is to understand how measurement type and uncertainty affect the accuracy of our state estimate and how we characterize the “goodness” of our estimate.

The Estimation ReINav and Lab module helps students understand the use of Kalman filters to estimate the relative state of a vehicle performing an RPO.

Our Path Controllers and Lab module will help students understand the different types of proximity operations path controllers, their uses, limitations and benefits.

The Orbit Determination module will give students the tools to understand the process of orbit determination and how it affects RPO a-priori states.

The GPS module provides an introduction to the GPS system, understanding on how PNT receivers work and how to effectively utilize them on orbit. Students should understand how GPS works in order to identify anomalies and account for bad geometries.

The RPO Sensors module gives students the required information to understand the different types of RPO sensors and processing algorithms. This includes the effect on operations performance, limitations of as-built systems and aid with “tuning” systems.

The Kalman Filter Tuning and Lab module helps students understand the factors that influence filter performance, and their effect on guidance and navigation. It also provides the knowledge to recognize and respond to off-nominal filter and sensor performance.

The Rendezvous Mission Planning and Lab provides an understanding of the considerations for rendezvous and RPO planning to be able to make informed decisions in off-nominal conditions. This includes limiting factors in execution of RPO missions, combined sensors, RelNav and mission considerations.

The Flight Safety module’s objective is to understand that performing close proximity operations can have impacts to the environment via debris, impacts to revenue of commercial systems (inadvertently taking a system offline), and/or political implications. Knowing your system is meeting its mission objectives in a safe manner is non-negotiable.

Our Electro-Optical Payloads module helps students understand the different types of EO Payloads and their effectiveness and limitations. This includes theoretical and real-world limitations of EO systems, generation of observation data using EO systems and resolved imagery performance.

The Capstones module teaches students how to demonstrate integrated skills in designing a servicing mission, such as understanding mission tradeoffs.