Algorithms for safe spacecraft proximity operations

David Gaylor, Brent William Barbee

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

26 Scopus citations


Future missions involving in-space servicing, repair, inspection, or rendezvous and docking require algorithms for safe, autonomous proximity operations. Algorithms for relative navigation, safe separation, and circumnavigation trajectory design are presented. The algorithms rely on safe, natural motion trajectories and covariance information from relative navigation to minimize the probability of spacecraft collision. The algorithms are described in the context of a space inspection mission where two attached spacecraft separate and one circumnavigates the other. These algorithms can also be applied to a variety of rendezvous or other proximity operations missions, whether autonomous or manually operated.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationAdvances in the Astronautical Sciences
Number of pages20
Volume127 PART 1
Publication statusPublished - 2007
Externally publishedYes
Event17th Annual Space Flight Mechanics Meeting - Sedona, AZ, United States
Duration: Jan 28 2007Feb 1 2007


Other17th Annual Space Flight Mechanics Meeting
CountryUnited States
CitySedona, AZ


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Space and Planetary Science

Cite this

Gaylor, D., & Barbee, B. W. (2007). Algorithms for safe spacecraft proximity operations. In Advances in the Astronautical Sciences (Vol. 127 PART 1, pp. 133-152)