Talk:Docking and berthing of spacecraft

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The comparative table is a great addition to Wikipedia in helping compare the various docking/berthing system designs that are each mentioned (relatively non-comprehensively) in some place or other on Wikipedia. Thanks for creating this new comparative article Craigboy!

I do have two suggestions on the table.

  1. It might be better to matrix-shift the rows to columns. That way it would fit better in the standard screen width of a Wikipedia reader.
  2. Also, I'm thinking it would be helpful to have rough timeframes in the table for when each design or concept was in use. Something like "1960s" or "circa 1975" or "1998-present"
^^ Seconded. I just came to the discussion page to ask if someone knowledgeable could put dates/date ranges in that table for each mechanism. Stephen J. Brooks (talk) 14:56, 17 November 2011 (UTC)

Whadayathink? N2e (talk) 18:27, 4 March 2011 (UTC)

1. I was worried about that, we can try your suggestion.
2. I was planning on adding more info to the chart, maybe we can include the time frame in the same box as "Use".
--Craigboy (talk) 00:45, 7 March 2011 (UTC)
I've shifted the table, what do you think? ChiZeroOne (talk) 01:27, 7 March 2011 (UTC)
I like the new, more narrow, table. Thanks ChiZeroOne!
Re using the "Use" column to cover the time frame per Craigboy's suggestion: Yes, that would work for me. I just think that the time context is important for an article of this nature. N2e (talk) 02:25, 7 March 2011 (UTC)

Some comments[edit]

There's some systems that have been left out temporarily because I had to start somewhere, they are the Kontakt docking system (info in summary) and Shenzhou's (info). Also I'm having trouble finding official names, and sometimes I see different names being used with the same systems.--Craigboy (talk) 17:44, 4 March 2011 (UTC)

100 stories about docking and other adventures in space and on Earth (in Russian) by Vladimir Syromyatnikov. Looks to be a good source on Russian docking mechanisms. There is also a English version of the book but I've heard it's poorly translated.--Craigboy (talk) 11:20, 31 January 2012 (UTC)

Another good link. --Craigboy (talk) 10:33, 2 April 2013 (UTC)

“The Probe and Cone systems used on the NASA Apollo vehicles and still in use today on the Russian Soyuz and Progress vehicles require relatively high contact velocities to achieve capture. They are lighter in weight to the Androgynous Peripheral Docking System (APDS) and the NASA Docking System (NDS), which are “peripheral” capture systems in that the soft capture latches reside around the circumference, or periphery, of the mating interface...The advantage of a peripheral attach system is that lower contact forces can achieve soft capture, at the expense of added complexity and mechanism weight."--Craigboy (talk) 22:02, 30 October 2015 (UTC)

Gemini docking system[edit] Page. 68

Kontakt docking system[edit]

Found an image of the passive mechanism. Apparently the image was taken at the Bauman Moscow State Technical University back in 2005. So if anyone is in the region it would be really nice to have non-copyrighted image of it.--Craigboy (talk) 19:06, 5 January 2012 (UTC)

Soyuz 4/5 Probe & Drogue[edit]

Here is the active mechanism (pic 1, pic 2).--Craigboy (talk) 11:09, 31 January 2012 (UTC)

Early Salyut Russian Probe & Drogue?[edit]

May have found some pictures of it although I'm not sure. Here is the passive mechanism and here is the active mechanism.--Craigboy (talk) 18:40, 5 January 2012 (UTC)

That probe and drogue scheme looks kind of androgynous to me. Yet it is labelled as non-androgynous. Are you sure ?Eregli bob (talk) 10:51, 26 May 2012 (UTC)
Yes.--Craigboy (talk) 22:29, 7 December 2014 (UTC)

Modern Russian Probe & Drogue[edit]

The Russian Docking System and the Automated Transfer Vehicle: a safe integrated concept - Clears up a lot of information on the docking mechanism, may be enough info to give the mechanism its own page--Craigboy (talk) 02:51, 1 April 2012 (UTC)

Good video showing how it's used to dock.--Craigboy (talk) 07:49, 9 February 2014 (UTC)

Undocking--Craigboy (talk) 04:07, 16 March 2015 (UTC)

Chinese docking system[edit]

I recently started working on a page for the Chinese system, it can be viewed here (Chinese Docking Mechanism).--Craigboy (talk) 05:57, 3 February 2012 (UTC)

Right now it looks like a dead-on copy of the APAS-95 system with the exception of the electrical connections (although that may have just been because I was looking at non-flight ready hardware). Comparison between the two is shown below.
APAS-95 on Shuttle
Tinagong-1 and Shenzhou-8 undocking
--Craigboy (talk) 02:13, 17 February 2012 (UTC)

"China’s rendezvous and docking (RVD) project is the next goal of China’s manned space program"

"the rendezvous and docking project hardware is compatible with the International Space Station." - Jiang Guohua, a professor and chief engineer at the China Astronaut Research and Training Center in Beijing.

He didn't specify which docking system its compatible with but according to an article by James Oberg its APAS. Pictures/video seem to agree with this conclusion.

Pic Video

Video of docking tests

--Craigboy (talk) 04:02, 8 March 2011 (UTC)

Video that shows basically everything--Craigboy (talk) 16:48, 6 January 2012 (UTC)

It needs to be clarified that that APAS-75 uses a different docking collar than APAS-89 and APAS-95.--Craigboy (talk) 00:15, 13 January 2012 (UTC)
APAS-95 is not compatible with the International Docking System Standard (IDSS), and at the time this interview was made the standard was not fully defined so the Chinese system could not be compatible.--Craigboy (talk) 00:15, 13 January 2012 (UTC)
--(previous unsigned comment added by} Craigboy (talk) 2011-12-20T19:02:31
Good find for some sources, Craigboy. Now we just need to assimilate and compile the various statements about the Shenzhou docking system and into some sort of article-worthy description of the Shenzhou docking system. As of 22 December 2011, Shenzhou is not mentioned in the article at all. N2e (talk) 17:05, 22 December 2011 (UTC)
I know, I've just been putting it off because there's some countradictory info out there about it. Also I have no clue what to call it, Boeing's calls it "Chinese APAS" but I don't know if the Chinese themselves consider it to be an APAS mechanism. And I can't call it the "Shenzhou docking mechanism" because its also used on Tiangong-1.Craigboy (talk) 04:22, 26 December 2011 (UTC)
It's been added to the article although I wish I had some better images to work with.--Craigboy (talk) 17:16, 6 January 2012 (UTC)

New info (March 2012):

“For the moment we cannot dock and rendezvous with the ISS, because our system is not the same as the Americans or the Russians,” said Wang Zhaoyao, the newly named director general of the China Manned Space Engineering Office (Cmseo), adding that experts from both agencies are expected to establish a working group that will meet in Paris next month to discuss Shenzhou’s compatibility with a planned ISS common docking mechanism. “We would like to have cooperation.”


Hybrid apparently can be converted to APAS but only after something is already docked to it.--Craigboy (talk) 10:03, 19 March 2012 (UTC)

international Low Impact Docking System[edit]

On a related note about other systems, I'm confused about the present "international Low Impact Docking System". Is this a general entry about IDD compatible systems or is it specifically about LIDS, because it links to NASA's LIDS? There is for example currently no article on ESA's indigenous system in development, the International Berthing and Docking Mechanism (IBDM), which is planned to be IDD compatible. ChiZeroOne (talk) 11:30, 8 March 2011 (UTC)

I don't know if ESA's system will ever be developed.--Craigboy (talk) 07:04, 17 April 2011 (UTC)

ISS Truss segment berthing mechanisms[edit]

These mechanisms are missing from the table, and I guess it's worth a mention. Also known collectively as Truss Attachment System (not sure if official name, seen in [1], page 2), there are actually several of them and they were used to berth truss segments using SRMS/SSRMS.

  • Segment-to-Segment Attachment System (SSAS) used on the inboard truss segments (P1 to S0, S1 to S0, P3 to P1 and S3 to S1). It is a fully automated mechanical system, with latching mechanisms based on CBM, but completely different in shape and without pressure seals.
  • (Modified) Rocketdyne Truss Attachment System (RTAS/MRTAS) is used on the outboard truss segments. MRTAS is used on P3/P4 to P5 and S3/S4 to S5, while RTAS was used to connect P6 to the Z1, and then P5 to P6 and S5 to S6. Similar to SSAS, but is manual, requiring an EVA to connect. I couldn't find any info on what exactly is the difference between RTAS and MRTAS.. Papers [2] and [3] (pages 32-36) have some details.
  • Module to Truss Segment Attachment System (MTSAS) connects S0 truss segment to the Destiny module. Shown in this diagram: [4]

In addition to Truss Attachment System, there are some other systems used for the external platforms (from [5]):

  • Common Attachment System (CAS), derived from SSAS, fully automated, except no bolting mechanism (latches are enough). It is used to temporarily attach various payloads (experiment pallets, logistics pallets, etc) to the S3 and P3 truss. [6] page 11.
  • Mobile Transporter (MT) to Mobile Base Servicer (MBS) interface
  • The Exposed Facility Berthing Mechanism (EFBM) is used to berth the JEM EF and the JEM PM modules.
  • The Exposed Facility Unit (EFU) is used to berth between the JEM ES and the JEM EF modules.
- Also: Manual Berthing Mechanism (MBM) ring, located on Z1 truss, allows attachemnt of CBM modules, but without power or pressurization. The Z1 truss's MBM was used only once, to temporarily hold PMA-2, while the Destiny lab was being berthed onto the Unity node during STS-98 [7]
- Sidenote: Z1 truss is actually berthed to Node 1 zenith port using a CBM and it's "dome" is used for storage. Now I am not sure what exactly the "dome" is.. Was it pressurized on launch or is it actually just a vestibule (region between the 2 hatches), or was it pressurized after berthing. Also this was the first ever CBM connection so it was used as a testbed.

--NotarosIvan (talk) 23:30, 10 October 2015 (UTC)

The Truss Attachment System is intentionally left out because no pressurized vessel is involved.--Craigboy (talk) 03:18, 11 October 2015 (UTC)

Accuracy problem: Gemini docking system?[edit]

"Houston, we have a problem" with the table. The Gemini docking system illustrated didn't look anything like the drawing. The Agena (female) side looks OK, but the male side was simply the nose of the Gemini spacecraft, with a vertical alignment bar which fit into a notch on the Agena collar. What's pictured looks more like the docking ring of the Apollo spacecraft; I can't imagine what the slide's author was illustrating.

I realize these pictures all came off of a NASA source slide, but here is a case where the source is inaccurate. Any ideas on how we can fix this with a more accurate picture? JustinTime55 (talk) 16:51, 8 March 2011 (UTC)

I'm glad I'm not the only one who noticed, we can try checking NASA Technical Reports Server for more information by my past attempts have been fruitless, worst case scenario we'll have to create a new diagram based off of images from the Gemini-Agena docking missions.--Craigboy (talk) 15:59, 9 March 2011 (UTC)
Also the Modern Soyuz Probe and Drogue diagram isn't accurate.--Craigboy (talk) 19:59, 13 March 2011 (UTC)
Gemini image has been replaced.--Craigboy (talk) 02:12, 16 September 2011 (UTC)

Article needs substantial citations[edit]

This article is a good and useful one; however, per WP:V we should not be sourcing assertions with other Wikipedia articles, nor should we have substantive assertions that are unsourced by reliable secondary sources with inline citations. I have tagged just a few of the assertions that need cited with {{citation needed}}. Anyone have a good book, or technical paper, that might have explicated all the various space docking systems to date? N2e (talk) 15:16, 11 March 2011 (UTC)

As far as I know there is no comprehensive source. --Craigboy (talk) 20:33, 13 March 2011 (UTC)

Good news. A new pdf has recently been put out called ISS Interface Mechanisms and their Heritage and there's a lot of info in it.--Craigboy (talk) 22:03, 5 September 2011 (UTC)

Manned and unmanned spacecraft docking (a question about article scope)[edit]

To date, most "docking," and all "berthing," of spacecraft have been of vehicles where at least one of the two were so-called "manned spacecraft", with docking to a pressurized habitable volume a necessary part of the deal.

This is changing. It now appears that a substantial number of economically-driven (commercial) dockings of unmanned spacecraft will be occurring starting as soon as 2015. In the past few weeks, substantive announcements have been made by two commercial providers to provide new autonomous/teleoperated unmanned resupply spacecraft for servicing other unmanned spacecraft. Moreover, these are, of course, explicitly not pressurized docking mechanisms.

The two are Space Infrastructure Servicing (SIS) vehicle from MDA, and the ViviSat Mission Extension Vehicle from U.S. Space and ATK. Interestingly, they each will use a different docking technique. SIS will utilize a ring attachment around the kick motor while the Mission Extension Vehicle will use a somewhat more standard insert-a-probe-into-the-nozzle-of-the-kick-motor approach.

All of this is to say that we, now, have an article scope question on our hands. As these are definitely both "spacecraft docking mechnisms" but they are not a part of the current breadth of what we are explicating in this article. Thoughts? N2e (talk) 15:06, 22 March 2011 (UTC)

I think we could add it to the current article but just keep them in separate sections, I'm not sure how we could classify them. Also what do you think about the Power Data Grapple Fixture, does it classify as "berthing", or is "grappling" something else entirely?--Craigboy (talk) 02:29, 29 March 2011 (UTC)
Yes check.svg Done I have stubbed out a new section, and kept it clearly separate from the traditional docking arrangements where both or one of the vehicles are manned spacecraft. I still need to add a citation for the detailed diffeences in the two docking approaches being planned for docking with communication satellites. N2e (talk) 05:02, 29 March 2011 (UTC)

Power Data Grapple Fixture[edit]

Earlier, Craigboy asked: "what do you think about the Power Data Grapple Fixture, does it classify as "berthing", or is "grappling" something else entirely?"--Craigboy (talk) 02:29, 29 March 2011 (UTC)

The short answer is, "I don't know", I need to think on that for a bit. It is clearly one-half of an adapter (broadly construed) that is used to accomplish berthing, of the class of objects that, while they may be unmanned, are intended to ultimately be docked to a pressurized, human-sized portal. Yet since it is attached to Canadarm, it never actually becomes a part of the end-state attachment, and would of course not need to utilize the pressurized-capable portion of the port design. Hmmm. One could say that, while a spacecraft is attached to Canadarm, the spacecraft and Canadarm have successfully completed an in-space docking, in one sense of the word, while not of course having completed the end-state pressurized docking (which is widely called "berthing" when accomplished with a manipulator system like Canadarm). So it's all a bit confusing with the terminology. And I suspect that it will be a while before all the terminology in the spacecraft domain settles out. This probably gives us some freedom of how we cover it in this article. We just need to be descriptive and clear based on the descriptions we can find in published sources. N2e (talk) 13:50, 29 March 2011 (UTC)
I think I might have my head wrapped around it. Canadarm grapples the HTV, but the HTV is berthed to the station. --Craigboy (talk) 07:20, 30 March 2011 (UTC)
Yeah, I think you're onto something there. It is often helpful to think about objects/nouns doing actions/verbs. And that looks like how you are thinking it through.
Also note that "grapple" is used in the citation I just added to the article (<ref name=sn20110318>). This is one I had read in the past few weeks but could not locate when thinking about it a couple of days ago. I finally did a full blown search today. N2e (talk) 17:43, 30 March 2011 (UTC)
Quite interestingly, that source speaks of a future not too far off when the object being grappled with will be a "fuel canister" that is put up into space merely to be docked/berthed/(whatever) with just one time for a fuel transfer. Good to see real plans on ideas that have been only SciFi for nearly a hundred years. N2e (talk) 17:50, 30 March 2011 (UTC)

China is about to do first docking, in 2011[edit]

China prepares for its first docking mission, which is expected to happen this year: China Modifies Long March For Docking, Aviation Week, 5 Aug 2011. There is little detail on the docking design released at this time, but this source may be sufficient to put the Chinese design "on the map" and in the table to improve this Wikipedia article. Cheers. N2e (talk) 00:53, 8 August 2011 (UTC)

I see that User:Craigboy did mention the Shenzhou docking system in a previous Talk page subsection in March 2011, and has provided some links of info that was current then. We should definitely add the Shenzhou docking system to this article by about the time that the Chinese are attempting their first docking in space, possibly in a few weeks to months from now. N2e (talk) 21:30, 22 August 2011 (UTC)
At least according to Boeing (page 26), the Shenzhou docking system (what I was calling it because I hadn't seen a name released) is a clone of APAS and thus they refer to it as "Chinese APAS". I'm not sure whether to add it to the list or put it with APAS-95. Further more, the more I research APAS-89, the more it seems like it is also the same as APAS-95. I might merge the APAS-85 and APAS-95 sections and rename it "APAS-89/APAS-95/Chinese APAS" but I'm afraid the reader would confuse APAS as a Chinese developed system.--Craigboy (talk) 03:34, 6 September 2011 (UTC)
I think that, given the paucity of detail on the specs/design and historical lineage of the Chinese "Shenzhou docking system", we will want to keep them separate, at least for now. When/if other reliable secondary sources surface that source the details of the connections between the various standards, that would be the time to consider combination. So I'm for adding a row to cover the Chinese docking system, which will be launched this quarter (4Q2011) according to the sources I've seen. And we have sufficient sources to document its existence, if not all of its detailed specs. Cheers. N2e (talk) 17:16, 19 September 2011 (UTC)
What would we call it?--Craigboy (talk) 22:33, 23 September 2011 (UTC)
China has called their docking system Androgynous Peripheral Attach System (APAS) in their English Tiangong 1 pre-launch video coverage. Hopefully they will post a recorded version later.


The article has been moved back to the singular, uncapitalised form per WP:TITLE - it is not a proper noun and the singular form is preferred over the plural. Please do not move it back without discussing here. Thanks. – ukexpat (talk) 15:40, 19 September 2011 (UTC)

As discussed in the edit summary not all of these mechanisms can perform both dockings and berthings, so the title is inaccurate.--Craigboy (talk) 22:30, 23 September 2011 (UTC)

No response for a week, changing the article's name.--Craigboy (talk) 13:20, 30 September 2011 (UTC)

I'm neutral on the "renaming", but you'll have to do it through WP:RM, as cut-and-paste moves aren't permitted. BilCat (talk) 13:51, 30 September 2011 (UTC)

Pics of Chinese docking system[edit]

There is a pretty decent pic of the Tiangong/Shenzhou docking system at c. 2:27 in the Chinese space agency video at [8]. I am not an expert on Wikipedia image rules, but I suspect that a fair use rationale could be used to use a single still image screen grab from this video. Cheers. N2e (talk) 04:26, 29 September 2011 (UTC)

Done.--Craigboy (talk) 22:26, 12 January 2012 (UTC)

Requested move[edit]

The following discussion is an archived discussion of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

The result of the move request was: page moved back to before the undiscussed move. This move in no way suggests that this is the correct title. The issues raised below about a totally new name can be raised in a new discussion with a target name that addresses those issues. Vegaswikian (talk) 18:26, 7 October 2011 (UTC)

Spacecraft docking and berthing mechanismSpacecraft docking and berthing mechanisms – As stated before not all of these mechanisms can perform both berthings and dockings, therefor the article title is inaccurate. --Craigboy (talk) 15:00, 30 September 2011 (UTC)

  • Comment: WP:PLURAL governs this issue, and I would say that this article is a borderline case, however I don't think either title is ideal, and we should look for other options. --GW 19:46, 30 September 2011 (UTC)
Am I missing something or is this article not about a class of objects and therefore a plural is acceptable according to that policy? ChiZeroOne (talk) 19:55, 30 September 2011 (UTC)
  • Oppose either name as confusing, and agree a better one is needed. I do understand there is a "technical" difference between docking and berthing, but as far as common usage is concerned, it's probably unnecessary to include "berthing" in the title. I'm also not sure "mechanism" is the best term either, but I'm too unfamiliar with the topic to suggest an better alternative. - BilCat (talk) 08:24, 5 October 2011 (UTC)
There isn't a common usage for docking and berthing that isn't in technical terms. How is a plural title confusing?--Craigboy (talk) 17:00, 5 October 2011 (UTC)
I didn't say that only the plural title was confusing. - BilCat (talk) 17:08, 5 October 2011 (UTC)
I know but why do you think it is confusing?--Craigboy (talk) 18:21, 5 October 2011 (UTC)
I agree with BilCat that berthing is confusing. Other than the definition given in the lead, the article doesn't explain it in the body (suggests a missing section.) I take it, an example of berthing would have been the Shuttle grappling a satellite with its "Candarm" into its payload bay for servicing? JustinTime55 (talk) 19:59, 5 October 2011 (UTC)
The above discussion is preserved as an archive of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

New section to clarify docking and berthing[edit]

I want to start a discussion picking up on an idea given by JustinTime in the previous Move discussion:

"berthing is confusing. Other than the definition given in the lead, the article doesn't explain it in the body (suggests a missing section."

I would tend to agree with that assertion. But what is the best way to fit the clarification of terms into the article? Would a section (below the lede) entitled "Docking and Berthing" be acceptable? Or would a section entitled something else, where subsections exist called "Docking" and "Berthing". The latter might allow for a more complete history of when each was first done, the time period of this operation in spaceflight, and who or which agencies and/or private companies have demonstrated the specific operational capabilities. What do others think? N2e (talk) 00:36, 13 November 2011 (UTC)

As far as I know the berthing of two pressurized elements has only been done with the CBMs. But there several different unpressurized berthing mechanisms used on the ISS, such as the Modified Rocketdyne Truss Attachment System (MRTAS).--Craigboy (talk) 03:58, 19 November 2011 (UTC)
Good stuff, Craigboy. If we have sources for that, then I think the pressurized/unpressurized distinction is a good one to make in the article prose. That way we get across the idea that berthing is more than merely the connection of human-habitable space station component modules. N2e (talk) 16:55, 22 December 2011 (UTC)

Is Salyut 7 an exception to "All spacecraft dockings to date..."[edit]

All spacecraft dockings to date have been accomplished with vehicles where both spacecraft involved were under either piloted, autonomous or telerobotic attitude control.[17] However, it might be desirable to dock with a spacecraft that does not have an operable attitude control system, for purposes of repair or disposal. Theoretical techniques for docking with non-cooperative spacecraft have been proposed.[17]

I dumped in the whatever it was to point out how inaccurate this bit is, and by all means delete the stuff I put in, but please read the article or at least that section first this time. The stuff I popped in there is a good example of an uncooperative docking btw. just summarize. Penyulap talk 12:18, 10 January 2012 (UTC)

Penyulap, it would appear that the Salyut 7 emergency docking was, in fact, an exception to the claim of the lede paragraph in the Non-cooperative docking section of the article. And if so, the current claim "All spacecraft dockings to date have been accomplished with vehicles where both spacecraft involved were under either piloted, autonomous or telerobotic attitude control." will need to be modified. However, all the Salyut 7 claims you added are, at present, unsourced. Please add source citations for each of the claims you added, or they won't be able to stay in Wikipedia long term. Cheers. N2e (talk) 13:58, 10 January 2012 (UTC)
It was either cut and pasted out of the Salyut 7 article, (most likely) or a really fast cut and paste into google will find it. Penyulap talk 22:34, 10 January 2012 (UTC)
Here it is Soyuz T-13 I'll leave the rest to you guys. Obviously refs are on that page. Or there are a gazillion on google. Penyulap talk 22:38, 10 January 2012 (UTC)
Penyulap, appreciate the bringing it to the attention of interested editors on the Talk page. But no amount of Talk page discussion justifies adding poorly copyedited and unsourced material to the article space. And it is not sufficient to just "leave the rest to you guys...". Per WP:BURDEN, which is part of the core WP:V policy, it is up to the editor who wants to add or retain material to ensure it is sourced. N2e (talk) 02:37, 13 January 2012 (UTC)
I have added a section below where the material can be cleaned up, copyedited, and sourced. When it is, we can add it back to the article page. N2e (talk) 02:44, 13 January 2012 (UTC)

Salyut 7 (sandbox area)[edit]

Salyut 7 revived. The March 2[when?] announcement notwithstanding, by the end of March the Soviets resolved to attempt a Salyut 7 rescue. The effort turned out to be one of the most impressive feats of in-space repairs in history. As the Pamirs approached the inert station, they saw that its solar arrays were pointing randomly as it rolled slowly about its long axis. They used a handheld laser range finder to judge their distance, and conducted a fly-around inspection to be certain the exterior was intact. Dzhanibekov noted that the thermal blankets on the transfer compartment had turned a dull gray from prolonged exposure to sunlight. Upon achieving hard dock—the first time a Soyuz docked with an inactive station—the crew confirmed through the electrical connectors in the docking collars that the Salyut 7 electrical system was dead. They carefully sampled the air in the station before opening the hatch. The station air was very cold, but breathable. Frost covered the walls and apparatus. The cosmonauts wore winter garb, including fur-lined hats, as they entered the station. The first order of business was to restore electric power. Of the eight batteries, all were dead, and two were destroyed. Dzhanibekov determined that a sensor had failed in the solar array pointing system, preventing the batteries from recharging. A telemetry radio problem prevented the TsUP from detecting the problem. Salyut 7 had quickly run down its batteries, shutting down all its systems and accounting for the break in radio contact. The cosmonauts set about recharging the batteries. They used Soyuz-T 13 to turn the station to put its solar arrays in sunlight. On June 10 they turned on the air heaters. The cosmonauts relied on the Soyuz-T 13 air regeneration system until they could get the Salyut 7 system back in order. On June 13 the attitude control system was successfully reactivated. This was cause for jubilation, as it meant a Progress bearing replacement parts could dock with Salyut 7. Wall heaters were turned on only after all the frost had evaporated, in order to prevent water from entering equipment. Normal atmospheric humidity was achieved only at the end of July. The station’s water tanks thawed by the end of June. Freezing destroyed the water heater, so the cosmonauts used a powerful television light to heat fluids.[citation needed]

ESA ATV Edoardo Amaldi[edit]

The docking without human intervention of the ESA Edoardo Amaldi ATV seems to me to be worth mention given its size and given the preceding Progress launch failure. The crew reported not feeling any bump.

G. Robert Shiplett 12:28, 30 March 2012 (UTC)

The Progress failure was not a result of the docking mechanism nor the Kurs system. The docking of the Edoardo Amaldi ATV to ISS was very similar to all previous dockings.--Craigboy (talk) 02:48, 1 April 2012 (UTC)

What rotational restrictions[edit]

Can we add what rotational restrictions the mechanisms have for soft and hard docking ? - Rod57 (talk) 12:16, 15 July 2012 (UTC)

I could probably theorize it by just looking at the mechanisms but I don't think I'd be able to find a source so I think we should hold off on that for now until we can find one.--Craigboy (talk) 15:07, 3 September 2012 (UTC)

Was the Space Shuttle docked to Hubble, or was Hubble berthed to the Shuttle?[edit]

Here it is written that Hubble is "docked" to the Shuttle, but in contrast here NASA writes about berthing Hubble to the Shuttle. Does anybody recall the steps how Hubble was placed in the cargo bay? I vaguely remember that the robotic arm was used to place the Hubble in the cargo bay. Can anybody confirm that this was always the case? This would make it a berthing. Tony Mach (talk) 07:09, 19 August 2012 (UTC)

Rewrite in progress[edit]

I'm currently adding some content. This is work in progress. The intermediate is here User:Tony_Mach/Spacecraft_docking_and_berthing_mechanisms. Kindest regards. Tony Mach (talk) 08:46, 19 August 2012 (UTC)

But why did you change the format so drastically? No offense but it kind of looks like a mess especially the "List of types of spacecraft docking and berthing mechanisms" section.--Craigboy (talk) 14:53, 3 September 2012 (UTC)
No response in almost three years and the re-write seems to have been abandoned so I'm reverting. I'll try to keep any new info or corrections made.--Craigboy (talk) 00:21, 19 January 2015 (UTC)

Requested move 2012[edit]

The following discussion is an archived discussion of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. Editors desiring to contest the closing decision should consider a move review. No further edits should be made to this section.

The result of the move request was: page moved. DrKiernan (talk) 17:27, 4 October 2012 (UTC)

Spacecraft docking and berthing mechanismsDocking and berthing of spacecraftRelisted Mdann52 (talk) 12:26, 26 September 2012 (UTC) I would like to request a move to Docking and berthing of spacecraft. Currently, other articles link here for an definition on the process of "spacecraft docking" or "spacecraft berthing" (see Docking and Berth for an example). Additionally, the new title would be more natural and more concise as per WP:TITLE.

I am currently writing more on said processes of docking and berthing, and would like to know your opinions:

Should we move it, what do you think? -- Tony Mach (talk) 14:21, 19 August 2012 (UTC)

  • Comment. Are there other things beside spacecraft that dock and berth? Ships do. Is there an article about ship docking and berthing procedures? Just some thoughts. I'm not decided on the move yet. --WingtipvorteX PTT 16:04, 19 August 2012 (UTC)
Yes, but the concepts behind docking and berthing of spacecraft (and the differences) are in my view not intuitively clear from the two words alone (I struggled to wrap my head around this) – and unlike with ships, docking and berthing are two mutually exclusive things, while as far as I understand a ship that has docked will remain berthed. Just look at some of the articles that link here – as far as I can see, very few link here for a definition of the mechanism used, most link here for a definition of docking or berthing. The split proposed below (which I initially considered) would create a new article, which would be in my view a sister/brother to the Space rendezvous article (another good example of an article linking here for an definition of docking and berthing). Tony Mach (talk) 08:02, 20 August 2012 (UTC)
  • Split the process/procedures from the mechanisms. The process can be covered under a new article at the name you propose. Since this article is mostly concerned with the mechanisms, the majority of the article would stay here. As the number of docking mechanisms greatly exceeds the number of docking techniques, the two topics can be treated in separate articles -- (talk) 05:44, 20 August 2012 (UTC)
    • Probably a good idea to split. The total number of links to this article is manageable. Most seem to link here for a definition of docking or berthing, they would have to be changed, what I could do manually. This article here then could refer for docking and berthing techniques to the new article, and here we could focus on the mechanisms. Tony Mach (talk) 08:02, 20 August 2012 (UTC)
  • Support move I support it because explaining docking and berthing doesn't really seem to be within the scope of the current title. Also we can always split the article later if it becomes too large but for now I think we should try to keep them together.--Craigboy (talk) 14:59, 3 September 2012 (UTC)
  • Comment I was going to close this request as a move, (but there is no reason why one of you can not make the move as it is a red link). If you are going to split the article where will the majority of it be? I ask because that is where th edit history should go. So if most of the current text will reside at Docking and berthing of spacecraft then the article should be move there (so the current history resides there) if the majority of the text will remain here then just cut and past. Either way let me know (1) if you want me to close this debate and 2 if you want me to move the history of the article over to the new name. I'll put this page on my watch list so you can post your answer here.-- PBS (talk) 17:13, 8 September 2012 (UTC)

--Relisted Mdann52 (talk) 12:26, 26 September 2012 (UTC) - due to above proposal.

The above discussion is preserved as an archive of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page or in a move review. No further edits should be made to this section.

Not just for crewed spacecraft[edit]

The lede has been recently modified to imply that spacecraft docking and berthing is only for space-station-type spacecraft. This is not correct.

Lede was: "Spacecraft docking and berthing mechanisms are used to join two spacecraft. Docking specifically refers to the joining or coming together of two separate free-flying space vehicles."

Lede is now: "Spacecraft docking and berthing mechanisms are mechanisms which are used to connect a spacecraft or space station module to either another spacecraft or an space station. This connection is either temporary for visiting spacecraft or semipermanently for space station modules."

Spacecraft docking is clearly not limited to "visiting spacecraft" or "space station modules". Unmanned spacecraft dock, as also may occur in rendezvous and capture for future Mars sample return missions, or the recently seen DARPA Phoenix satellite servicing project, just for a few examples.

Tony, as you are making lots of changes to the article, I'll stay out for now and let you try to clean this up. Cheers. N2e (talk) 21:54, 19 August 2012 (UTC)

I was aiming at a general description that wasn't overly long – seems as if I missed this and need to retry. :-) Tony Mach (talk) 07:50, 20 August 2012 (UTC)
One more thing, looking –again– at the video: The DARPA thingy is in my view a "grapple/capture mechanism" on the DARPA robo-sat, as the other side has nothing specifically designed (what is this on the captured satellite, the ring connecting the upper stage?). It is certainly a can of worms. I think grapple/capture deserves an article of its own, otherwise we'll open a can of worms here. While this may be original research, docking and berthing mechanisms have in my view has both sides designed for each other: e.g. this would include the original Hubble/Shuttle capture/berth mechanism but not DARPA's robo-sat. Tony Mach (talk) 08:30, 20 August 2012 (UTC)
Hey Tony, thanks. I think the little fix you did in the lede handles it for now.
On the broader topic of docking, I think you are partly right, and partly missing something. It may very well be the case that an article is (eventually, or soon) needed to cover other sorts of docking mechanisms; e.g., what you are calling a "grapple/capture mechanism". However, that is no reason to miss an important fact that will be relevant to both articles (or both sets of articles) even if someone were to create such other articles: Docking of two spacecraft is a complicated matter, and any mechanism used to ultimately effect the final connection (the two spacecraft, each on separate orbital trajectories, becoming one, now on a single orbital trajectory) is a "docking mechanism". So I do think we will have to deal with it, at least at some level, even in this article.
Your view of "docking" and "berthing" is heavily formed, as is mine, by the most common, most frequent, and highest value dockings we know about: the dockings/berthings of the crewed and cargo spacecraft with the ISS. That can't be helped. But the ISS is not the universe for solving the difficult problem of space redezvous and capture. So I think the Wiki encyclopedia will need to also have the broader scope. Cheers. N2e (talk) 22:17, 20 August 2012 (UTC)
I think much of the problems stems from the fact that the few players of space flight make up their terms as they go.
As an example, from the PMA article:
Unity, already docked to Endeavour via PMA-2, docking with Zarya via PMA-1 (NASA)
"On STS-88 the crew used the shuttle's robotic arm to attach the Zarya control module to PMA-1, which was already connected to the aft berthing port of Unity."
This would be a berthing with the APAS docking mechanism. But an other document cited in the article here says that NDS will be the first mechanism capable of both docking and berthing.
As we can't play primary source and come up with an definition of the terms of our own, we have to rely on documents that do not offer consistent definition of the terms.
I don't know the best course.
(And I think grapple should be mentioned here, just as Space rendezvous) -- Tony Mach (talk) 09:46, 21 August 2012 (UTC)
I made a rough "scratch pad" of categories and terms for Brainstorming here: User:Tony Mach/Docking. If want to add something I forgot, please feel free to leave a note there. -- Tony Mach (talk) 12:30, 21 August 2012 (UTC)
Or another example from the "ISS Interface Mechanisms and their Heritage" document:
Mir had two docking ports and four berthing ports.
Huh. Tony Mach (talk) 18:39, 21 August 2012 (UTC)

NASA to/from ISS docking /and/ berthing after 2017[edit]

Good source of info on the plans by NASA for ISS docking and berthing after 2017 are here: to evaluate ISS resupply options through 2024.2 Feb NASA to evaluate ISS resupply options through 2024], 22 Feb 2014, a Request For Information solicitation put out by NASA.

Options for US civil space supply of—and return downmass from—the Space Station include SpaceX, Orbital Sciences Cygnus capsule, Boeing's CST-100, and SNC's [[Dream Chaser (spacecraft}|Dream Chaser]].

“ISS will maintain the capability to support a berthing and a docking capability as physical interfaces to the ISS. [These cargo service] providers must be compatible with both prime and backup attachment ports” ... “Berthing will be to a Common Berthing Mechanism (CBM). Docking will be to the new ISS Docking Adapter (IDA).” ... allowance for berthing and docking vehicles opens up the potential for other commercial vehicles [beyond the pre-2017 SpaceX and Orbital cargo vehicles], such as Boeing’s CST-100 – which is currently competing for the right to launch NASA astronauts to the ISS. [as is] SNC’s Dream Chaser is also aiming to provide crew launch capability, while also positioning itself for a multi-role path that could include cargo flights – as much as the vehicle hasn’t been associated with CRS level missions."

Cheers. N2e (talk) 02:34, 24 February 2014 (UTC)

It's actually called the "International Docking Adapter".--Craigboy (talk) 22:21, 9 April 2014 (UTC)


--Craigboy (talk) 08:56, 20 March 2015 (UTC)

Differences/advantages/disadvantages between docking and berthing[edit]

Mike Suffredini (NASA head of the ISS) - 26 June 2015 --Craigboy (talk) 06:02, 28 June 2015 (UTC)

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