Today successful docking of spacecraftsurprise no one - thanks to the flashing lights on the surface of the devices used since the Apollo program, everything happens rather quickly and with great precision. However, scientists have all the opportunities to create a cheaper and more economical counterpart. For example, the European Space Agency ESA proposes to equip vehicles with infrared and phosphorescent "marker lights" that meet all modern requirements.
Markers that have already received an officialThe name PEMSUN is planned to be applied directly to the spacecraft bodies Researchers are confident that thanks to them, the devices will become more visible, and will be able to recognize the distance and direction of each other. The European Space Agency is set up quite seriously - a new type of navigation markers had already been tested inside a special docking simulator in March 2019. Perhaps in the near future, tests will begin in Earth orbit.
Space missions every year becomesmore, so the new technology will come in handy. The number of spacecraft may increase dramatically, and all of them will need a single standard for designating their dimensions and location of docking nodes. According to ESA employee Sebastien Perrot, the new markers will be especially useful during eclipses when the Earth obscures the sun. At such times, one of the devices needs to maintain its position, and the lights of the second device will serve as an excellent reference point.
In the history there are several cases of unsuccessful docking of spacecraft. One of them can be read in our material about the tragic stories that occurred in space.
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