How does the Russian docking system find its port?

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willpittenger

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I know the Russians have a docking system that is automatic. I figure radar can tell the spacecraft how close it is to the target. But how does the system figure out where the docking port is and which port to use? <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <hr style="margin-top:0.5em;margin-bottom:0.5em" />Will Pittenger<hr style="margin-top:0.5em;margin-bottom:0.5em" />Add this user box to your Wikipedia User Page to show your support for the SDC forums: <div style="margin-left:1em">{{User:Will Pittenger/User Boxes/Space.com Account}}</div> </div>
 
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jimfromnsf

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use google and find out for yourself. <br /><br />The ISS has sensors near the docking port that are activated when the docking port is to be used<br /><br />Look up KURS
 
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bpfeifer

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Unfortunately, just plugging "KURS" into google yields almost no useful data.<br /><br />I had a little better luck with "KURS docking system", but even that was fairly minimal. Here are the best two hits I got. Maybe someone else actually know the link to a useful site:<br /><br />Abstract: Soviet automated rendezvous and docking system overview<br />http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/1991arcr.nasa...34H<br /><br />Wikipedia: Kurs (docking system)<br />http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kurs_(docking_system) <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> Brian J. Pfeifer http://sabletower.wordpress.com<br /> The Dogsoldier Codex http://www.lulu.com/sabletower<br /> </div>
 
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bpfeifer

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"It isn't a docking system, it is a rendezvous system"<br /><br />I'm sorry. I guess this is just another one of those things the announcers on NASA TV frequently get wrong.<br /><br />Can you tell me what the system is called that automatically guides the Soyuz or Progress to the point of soft dock? Thanks! <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> Brian J. Pfeifer http://sabletower.wordpress.com<br /> The Dogsoldier Codex http://www.lulu.com/sabletower<br /> </div>
 
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kurtwagner

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I realize that Wikipedia is not considered authoritative nor accurate by many. As a librarian by profession I don't condone its use as a sole, final source for anything. That being said, when I do research I look in as many places as possible. In this case Wikipedia offers <font color="yellow">"When used for docking, the Soyuz or Progress vehicle broadcasts radar pulses from multiple antennas. The variation in strength between the antennas allows the system to compute relative position, attitude, and approach rate. The system is designed for automatic rendezvous and docking, but in an emergency cosmonauts my take command of the vehicle either locally, or from the International Space Station."</font>a target="_blank" href=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kurs_%28docking_system%29>http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kurs_%28docking_system%29. This article cites a NASA abstract http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/1991arcr.nasa...34H. This is not intended to represent thorough research on the topic. I did notice on http://www.astronautix.com that Kurs was called "an automatic approach and docking system." I'd infer that in most cases (excepting anti-satellite operations), rendezvous is usually followed by docking.
 
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cbased

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A spacecraft (let's say Progress) after lauch is controled from the mission control centre on the ground until it is within 7-30km distance from ISS. After that Progress's on-board computer takes control over the docking system using Kurs system (Kurs is russian for Course). Kurs consists of an active part (Kurs-A) installed on the Progress and a passive part (Kurs-P) installed on the Station. Basically it is a radio-technical system similar to radars but more sophisticated. Progress automatically controls the whole process, it calculates all necessary maneuvers (usually no more than 3) using data about distance, speed and angular position from the Kurs system.<br />
 
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Boris_Badenov

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Thank you Kurt. Now we know that KURS is the system used for docking as well as rendezvous. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <font color="#993300"><span class="body"><font size="2" color="#3366ff"><div align="center">. </div><div align="center">Never roll in the mud with a pig. You'll both get dirty & the pig likes it.</div></font></span></font> </div>
 
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j05h

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<i>> Thank you Kurt. Now we know that KURS is the system used for docking as well as rendezvous.</i><br /><br />The part that is missing in this is mechanical, I think. Docking approach is handled by Kurs (or manual on Soyuz, IIRC) but the actual mechanism for docking is APAS or Probe-and-Drogue. <br /><br />Josh <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <div align="center"><em>We need a first generation of pioneers.</em><br /></div> </div>
 
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willpittenger

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Before you can connect to the drogue, you need to find it on the target spacecraft -- especially if that spacecraft, like ISS, has several matching drogues. How does that happen? That is what I asked in the first place. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <hr style="margin-top:0.5em;margin-bottom:0.5em" />Will Pittenger<hr style="margin-top:0.5em;margin-bottom:0.5em" />Add this user box to your Wikipedia User Page to show your support for the SDC forums: <div style="margin-left:1em">{{User:Will Pittenger/User Boxes/Space.com Account}}</div> </div>
 
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willpittenger

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Yes, but how does the system find its docking port? Finding and getting to the target spacecraft is the easy part. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <hr style="margin-top:0.5em;margin-bottom:0.5em" />Will Pittenger<hr style="margin-top:0.5em;margin-bottom:0.5em" />Add this user box to your Wikipedia User Page to show your support for the SDC forums: <div style="margin-left:1em">{{User:Will Pittenger/User Boxes/Space.com Account}}</div> </div>
 
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j05h

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Progress uses KURS until contact at which point the physical mechanism takes over. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <div align="center"><em>We need a first generation of pioneers.</em><br /></div> </div>
 
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PistolPete

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If I understand your question correctly, you are asking if the KURS system determines the docking port, then maneuvers the spacecraft to dock with the port. This is not so. The docking port for each spacecraft is determine long before launch on the ground. The ground controllers aim the spacecraft at the docking port that has been predetermined for that spacecraft, then they turn on the KURS system and let it do the rest. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p> </p><p><em>So, again we are defeated. This victory belongs to the farmers, not us.</em></p><p><strong>-Kambei Shimada from the movie Seven Samurai</strong></p> </div>
 
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SpaceKiwi

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Yes, I agree. The KURS system uses simple radar pulsing to determine range to the port. While there may be several ports available, they are all on different 'axis' and it's nigh on impossible to line up on the wrong one. As PP points out, the flight profile is determined long before the vehicle arrives and that makes for only one possible docking option.<br /> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><em><font size="2" color="#ff0000">Who is this superhero?  Henry, the mild-mannered janitor ... could be!</font></em></p><p><em><font size="2">-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------</font></em></p><p><font size="5">Bring Back The Black!</font></p> </div>
 
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bpfeifer

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So, if I understand what you are saying, kurs does not find the ISS. Kurs only takes over after the vehicle is close, and already roughly aligned with the docking port. It then uses multiple radar antennas with different pulses (frequency or sequence) to determine attitude and closing velocity, etc. It uses these to guide the probe into the drogue for soft dock.<br /><br />Is this an accurate description?<br /><br />So it's really a solution to the last mile problem. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> Brian J. Pfeifer http://sabletower.wordpress.com<br /> The Dogsoldier Codex http://www.lulu.com/sabletower<br /> </div>
 
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PistolPete

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I'd say that about sums it up. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p> </p><p><em>So, again we are defeated. This victory belongs to the farmers, not us.</em></p><p><strong>-Kambei Shimada from the movie Seven Samurai</strong></p> </div>
 
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vgorelik

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Even though a passive vehicle (ISS in this case) may have multiple docking ports and associated passive KURS systems, only one system is activated for a particular mission. Active KURS sees only one docking port during active approach.
 
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jimfromnsf

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KURS is not multiple radars, or even a "radar". It is a interogator and transponder
 
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willpittenger

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Aggh. You still misunderstand. How do they aim it at the port? If the system is automatic once the controllers pick the port, then what? <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <hr style="margin-top:0.5em;margin-bottom:0.5em" />Will Pittenger<hr style="margin-top:0.5em;margin-bottom:0.5em" />Add this user box to your Wikipedia User Page to show your support for the SDC forums: <div style="margin-left:1em">{{User:Will Pittenger/User Boxes/Space.com Account}}</div> </div>
 
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thereiwas

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I think there is an active component at the desired port, to which the approaching vehicle zeros in on. Which port is so enabled is determined by ISS or ground control. <br /><br />Jim, if you know the answer why don't you just provide it?
 
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bobw

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<font color="yellow">How do they aim it at the port?</font><br /><br />Thrusters<br /><br /><font color="yellow">If the system is automatic once the controllers pick the port, then what?</font><br /><br />It flies in and docks. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> </div>
 
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willpittenger

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<blockquote><font class="small">In reply to:</font><hr /><p><blockquote><font class="small">In reply to:</font><hr /><p>How do they aim it at the port?<p><hr /></p></p></blockquote>Thrusters<blockquote><font class="small">In reply to:</font><hr /><p>If the system is automatic once the controllers pick the port, then what?<p><hr /></p></p></blockquote>It flies in and docks.<p><hr /></p></p></blockquote><br />Are you an expert in stating the obvious? The progress (or new module) would need to see the drogue somehow to ensure it doesn't need to roll first. Brains -- not brawn. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <hr style="margin-top:0.5em;margin-bottom:0.5em" />Will Pittenger<hr style="margin-top:0.5em;margin-bottom:0.5em" />Add this user box to your Wikipedia User Page to show your support for the SDC forums: <div style="margin-left:1em">{{User:Will Pittenger/User Boxes/Space.com Account}}</div> </div>
 
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