Available Technology

Video guidance sensor system with laser rangefinder

A video guidance sensor system for use in automated docking of a chase vehicle with a target vehicle wherein the chase vehicle includes a laser rangefinder that uses pulse or phase time of flight measurement to measure distance. The laser rangefinder includes a diode laser pulse or phase driver that produces an output signal to a timing element and simultaneously operates a laser diode. The laser diode produces an intense light beam of a predetermined wavelength which is directed to retroreflectors that are positioned on a passive target. The laser rangefinder includes an avalanche photodetector that produces a corresponding output signal when detecting light reflected from the retroreflectors. The timing element measures a time interval between the output of the laser diode and the detection of light and supplies a corresponding output signal to a computer in order to determine the range of the target vehicle relative to the chase vehicle.
Inventors: 

Michael L. Book, Thomas C. Bryan, Richard T. Howard, Albert (Nick) Johnston

Patent Number: 
US6658329
Patent Issue Date: 
January 2, 2004
Agency
NASA
Region
Southeast
State: 
Alabama
Phone: 
256-544-9151
Email: 
terry.taylor@nasa.gov
Lab Representatives
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