Intersecting Orbits Rendezvous Method

diagram of crossing rendezvous orbits Starting Conditions:

The Shuttle is moving faster and will pass the Station in its present orbit. We know that adding velocity to the shuttle will raise it into a higher, slower orbit which will can cross the orbit of the Station.
What velocity will

  1. raise the Shuttle past the Station orbit
  2. give the Shuttle a velocity matching that of the Station at the cross over.

Determine a neww elliptical orbit for the Shuttle with v=7.542 km/s at a distance of r=7000 km from the center of the Earth. The orbit's perihelion with be its present circular orbit distance rperi = 6990 km

Use the velocity equation: v2 = vc2(2a/r - 1) and the fact the mean velocity of the ellipitcial orbit is given by vc = √[kE/a]

In the same time the Station will revolve (1559/5828) 360° = 96.3° about the Earth.

In order to rendezvous precisely, the Shuttle should

  1. increase its velocity by 7.557-7.552 = 0.005 km/s
  2. when the Station is 0.2° ahead of it. (24 km)


14-Jun-2005 -- L.Bogan