A research team from NASA, Lockheed Martin and Ball Aerospace worked with Andrew Feustel, STS-134 Mission Specialist, and successfully completed the on-orbit Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle (MPCV) navigation system test. The remarkable on-orbit maneuver was performed by Commander Mark Kelly as part of the Sensor Test for Orion Relative Navigation Risk Mitigation (STORRM).
The flight test confirmed the successful functioning of the Vision Navigation Sensor (VNS) and the Docking Camera, which serves as a major technology for making docking and rendezvous tasks securer for upcoming spacecrafts of NASA. The test depicts the first ever partnership of NASA with three human spaceflight programs including space shuttle, International Space Station and Orion MPCV.
‘Lockheed Martin’ Electro-optics Engineer, Catherine Boone, stated that they gathered around 600 GB of information to confirm if the design can cope with the superior functionality norms needed for Orion MPCV and other spacecrafts. She mentioned that the test flight will be followed by another testing at their Denver-based Space Operations Simulation Center to examine the method of improving the robustness and precision of Orion MPCV in order to make the system ideal for dynamic conditions of deep-space expeditions.
STORRM represents a strong navigation layout that offers the needed docking precision and range ability to cope with safety, mass, power and volume demands for several future space exploration missions of NASA. The hardware parts of STORRM include a HD docking camera, the latest laser-based VNC, a space-authorized laptop computer, an avionics assembly to offer power and record information and docking targets capable of producing reflection, which were incorporated on the space station during the STS-131 mission.
During the flight test, VNS of STORRM showed better performance by offering continuous measurements from a distance in the range between three-and-a-half miles and six feet from the space station. The range ability is three times better than the currently used navigation sensor. Excellent three-dimensional images of the docking target are also provided by this latest sensor technology.