Today’s successful docking of spacecraft is no surprise — due to the used since the days of the program “Apollo” blinking lights on the surface of the devices, everything happens very quickly and with great precision. However, scientists have all the opportunities to create cheaper and more economical counterpart. For example, the European space Agency ESA proposes to equip vehicles with infrared and phosphorescent “Parking lights”, which meet all modern requirements.
The markers that have already received the official name PEMSUN is planned to be applied directly to the body of the spacecraft. The researchers believe that thanks to them, devices will become more visible, and may tell the distance and direction to each other. The European space Agency is configured, seriously, a new type of navigation markers have already been tested inside a special docking simulator in March 2019. Perhaps in the near future will begin testing in Earth orbit.
Space missions every year are increasing, therefore new technology will be very helpful. The number of spacecraft may increase dramatically, and all they will need in a single standard to refer to their dimensions and location of docking ports. According to the ESA Sebastian Perrault, new markers will be especially useful during eclipses, when the Earth is eclipsing the Sun. At such moments, one of the machines necessary to maintain their position, and the lights of the second device would serve as a good reference.
In history there are several cases of unsuccessful docking of spacecraft. One of them can be read in our article about the tragic stories that happened in space.
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