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  • Try docking Falcon 9 at ISS

    Posted on Bluetrix Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Home Forums Outside the box Fun Stuff Try docking Falcon 9 at ISS

    • This topic has 5 replies, 4 voices, and was last updated 1 month ago.
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      • #2267385 Reply
        Bluetrix
        AskWoody MVP

        SpaceX has a simulator online that uses the same controls the pilots use. Give it a try and post your attempts/results. I almost got it second time, but the controls are best suited for gamers, not a hunt and peck typist.

        https://iss-sim.spacex.com/

        1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #2267411 Reply
        GoneToPlaid
        AskWoody Plus

        The SpaceX sim works best in Chrome. It is best to initially null your pitch, roll and yaw angles using the right hand controls. Get those values to within +/- 0.1 degree. Then translate into alignment with the docking port using the left hand controls. For alignment, initially get your Y and Z alignment to within 0.2 meters. I prefer to approach fairly quickly, and then slow down once I get to within 50 meters of the ISS. Then it is simply a matter of continuing the approach at less than 0.2 m/s and using the left hand controls to maintain Y and Z alignment within 0.2 meters of the docking port.

        Once you get really comfortable with the controls, it is a riot of fun to fly around the ISS first and before docking.

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      • #2267429 Reply
        Steve S.
        AskWoody Plus

        I’ve been practicing on a PC flight simulator recently so thought I’d give it a try docking the Falcon 9 to the ISS. What a tense and focused process! The closer I got the more my mouse palm sweated. Even found myself holding my breath the last several meters. I was, in the end, successful and decided once is enough – for now. 😉

        Win7 Pro x64(Group B), Win10 Pro x64 1909, Win10 Home 1909, Linux Mint + a cat with 'tortitude'.

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        • #2268219 Reply
          GoneToPlaid
          AskWoody Plus

          Yes, the final several meters can be twitchy. Interestingly, today I saw Dragon’s thrusters fire on the Z axis for small translations during the last 20 meters after Dragon got the green light to automatically proceed with docking. What is surprising is that the simulator does accurately calculate microgravity, depending on the time when you launch and run the simulator.

      • #2267433 Reply
        Bill D
        AskWoody Plus

        Things do get kind of intense in the last 2 or 3 meters — be sure that in your frantic mouse clicking you do not hit the center of the translation control cluster like I did — it increases the translation control gains.  I had to come to a screeching halt in the last 2 meters to figure out what the heck happened.  After I got the control gains back down, finishing the docking wasn’t too bad.

        You do have to get used to controlling rates, not positions.

         

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        • #2268220 Reply
          GoneToPlaid
          AskWoody Plus

          Yes, nulling your rates (relative to the target) dates back to Gemini and Apollo. Definitely an important concept to learn. The ISS is not in a perfectly circular orbit. Earth mascons do effect the ISS orbit, and do affect docking. All of this is predicted in the SpaceX simulator, which in turn makes the simulator a riot of fun to try at different times of the day.

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