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NASA Docking System (NDS)

The NASA Docking System (NDS) mechanism is an active docking and berthing system based on a reconfigurable and reusable design. NDS is currently being developed at NASA’s Johnson Space Center (JSC) in support of the International Space Station (ISS) and Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle (MPCV) programs.

NDS is applicable to both automated and manned on-orbit docking and berthing operations. Utilizing a Stewart Platform design with active position and force control systems, this intelligent system can provide a large capture envelope while minimizing loads transmitted to vehicles and manipulator systems. This system is easily adapted for capturing a wide range of vehicles or payloads.

Dynamic Concepts, Inc. has the responsibility to develop a test correlated, comprehensive model of the NDS mechanism dynamics (including real-time embedded control system models). This modeling and analysis development directly supports the system design through the NDS development and qualification program phases. The dynamics model also assists with the definition of system requirements. After the tool has been validated, it will prove invaluable in modifying NDS operational parameters in support of proposed and evolving exploration vehicles and missions. The NDS model will reduce design and mission analysis costs by providing system engineers with tools necessary to define docking and berthing procedures and perform pre-flight analysis through digital simulations.

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