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Orbital rendezvous has been Oberg's life-long professional specialization. From his senior undergraduate honors thesis to his NASA-funded graduate studies, to his military duty tracking (and avoiding) Soviet spy satellites, to his work at Mission Control, and at home, to his life-long amateur satellite observations, he has been immersed in 'orbits'. For NASA, he 'wrote the books' on crew procedures for space shuttle rendezvous, 'proximity operations' (close-in maneuvering), and separation maneuvers. He compiled the reference volume, "History of Orbital Rendezvous", worked in Mission Control for the earliest shuttle missions of this type, developed and documented the console position (in the 'Trench', the front row seats) for the 'GPO' (Guidance and Procedures Officer). He was lead 'Rendezvous GPO' for the LDEF recovery mission, and later led the team that developed the complex rendezvous and proximity operations procedures for the first space station assembly mission in 1998.
03/24/2006 - MSNBC.com: ArabSat bites the dust, dashing hopes
01/31/2006 - MSNBC.com: “Spacesuit goes overboard for unusual mission (SuitSat)”
09/09/2005 - MSNBC.com: “XSS-11 performs multiple satellite rendezvouses”
08/03/2005 - MSNBC: “Phantom Force’ Lofts Space Station – For Free”
06/13/2005 - The Space Review: Academic Honors for a Spaceflight Prophet
02/28/2005 - The Space Review: Action-reaction in space: the "gyrodine war" heats up
11/09/2004 - MSNBC.com: Did NASA space robot dodge disaster?
08/03/2004 - MSNBC.com: Spacewalkers cope with phantom menace
03/01/2000 - Scientific American: A Bus Between the Planets
02/01/2000 - Space Probe's Complex Courtship Dance With Eros UPI
12/01/1998 - Fancy Space Maneuvers on STS-88: Firsts and Lasts on Space Assembly Mission
12/1996 - Air and Space Magazine (PDF File): United We Orbit
09/1995 - Flight Design and Dynamics Newsletter (PDF File): "Feeling" Orbital Mechanics
07/1984 - Lunar Fly-By Into Retrograde GEO


Space Rendezvous Relative Motion Plots (1937-1992 and beyond) - under construction

"A History of Orbital Rendezvous" (NASA, 1991)"

In 1990-1, as part of training documentation and procedural development documentation, Oberg compiled original reports and excerpts from publications concerning the origin, development, implementation, and flight experience of orbital rendezvous, along with writing transition and commentary chapters. The book came to be called “A History of Orbital Rendezvous”, and ‘self-published’ 3-ring-binder copies were filed with the Flight Design and Dynamics Division, the Flight Director Office, the Astronaut Office, and the JSC Technical Library. Oberg brought one home with him when he left JSC in 1997. He has no idea which others, or copies thereof, may survive at NASA, so this web page will try to share as much of the manuscript as he finds time to scan.

"History of Orbital Rendezvous", James Oberg, 1990-1, "Lesson Plan" overview

"History of Orbital Rendezvous", James Oberg, 1990-1, Table of Contents

"History of Orbital Rendezvous", Opening Essay, "Roots of Rendezvous" (Oberg)

"History of Orbital Rendezvous", Chapter 1, Hacker, "The Idea of Rendezvous" [4 meg]

"History of Orbital Rendezvous", section 1, Ross (BIS) article (1949) first uses word 'rendezvous' for space flight

"History of Orbital Rendezvous", section 1, von Braun describes 'space rendezvous', Hayden Planetarium, NYC, 1951

"History of Orbital Rendezvous", section 1, Arthur Clarke describes 'space rendezvous', 1951

"History of Orbital Rendezvous", section 1, Harry Ross retrospective on development of concept (1976) of space rendezvous, JBIS, London

"History of Orbital Rendezvous", section 1, 'Buzz' Aldrin PhD thesis, MIT, on 'orbital rendezvous' (1963) as a piloting task

"History of Orbital Rendezvous", description of visual acuity test deployed balloons, Mercury program

"History of Orbital Rendezvous", crew report, Gemini-IV re-rendezvous failure (June 1965) [1.5 meg]

"History of Orbital Rendezvous", Gemini-IV re-rendezvous failure, perspective from Hacker and Aldrin

Gemini 1 0f 3, GT-4 and GT-5

Gemini 2 of 3, GT-6 [December 1965]

Gemini 3 of 3, GT-8, 9A, 10, 11, 12 and summaries

"History of Orbital Rendezvous", Apollo-11 crew report (Armstrong, Aldrin) on lunar orbit rendezvous results (July 1969)

Skylab rendezvous profile [1973-4]  8 meg

"History of Orbital Rendezvous", STS Design Reference Mission 3A/3B (DoD one-rev deploy/rendezvous/retrieve/return), 1973 [2 meg]

"History of Orbital Rendezvous", chapter: "Rendezvous Procedure Modifications for STS" (Oberg, 1990) [2 meg]

"History of Orbital Rendezvous", chapter: "Post-flight detailed reports, STS rendezvous missions 1983-1990", Oberg et al., 1990 [8 meg]

"History of Orbital Rendezvous", STS chapter: "STS-32 LDEF Retrieve Postflight Report", Oberg (lead RNDZ GPO, MCC)


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