Vision Based Rendezvous GNC Techniques and Test Benches for Active Debris Removal

In the context of the European Clean Space initiative, several relevant technologies are being preliminarily traded-off as promising for Active Debris Removal (ADR). This paper presents the features and strengths of a Vision-based Rendezvous GNC system covering the close proximity operations up to the contact phase, either docking or capture, with the specific debris. Not only the GNC system and associated techniques are described in detail, but also the environments specifically developed to test the performances of such system, including a MATLAB/Simulink simulator, and two real time test-benches, one with processor in the loop, and other with hardware in the loop.