This is just a short one that someone pointed out to me over the weekend. For spacecraft that have to do their own rendezvous and docking with say a space station or depot, you need an RCS capable of not just holding a stable attitude, but also providing translational control in all three axes. Ie you need to be able to push yourself in x, y, or z directions, and rotate around each of those axes. If you have a tug to do the prox-ops however, the actual spacecraft/launcher itself only needs RCS capable of holding a stable attitude (ie provide moments about the x,y, and z axes)…
Does this actually save you any complexity in the RCS system or avionics? I think this may allow you to reduce the number of RCS thrusters, but I’m not sure (and don’t really have time to think it through today).
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