Questions tagged [navigation]

Topics that relate to orbit determination and flight path control. May also be used for navigation on the surface of celestial objects.

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5
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1answer
306 views

How is altitude measured in self-landing rocket stages?

Altitude must be a key metric for a self-landing rocket stage on landing approach. But where exactly does that measurement come from? And to what decimal place would it be accurate? I'm sure the ...
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1answer
1k views

Lunar Terrain Model in Apollo Guidance Computer

In the book Apollo Guidance Computer by Frank O’ Brian, on page 279, he talks about the lunar terrain model in the Apollo Guidance Computer, which has the several segments of the surface with slope. ...
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1answer
100 views

What causes a visual odometry failure?

Exploring the amazing Curiosity Analysts's notebook*, I came across the following in the "Sol 2931-2932 uplink report": However, the Sol 2929 drive was halted early (well short of location &...
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1answer
277 views

Modeling attitude control: ramping/easing between attitude commands?

Say you switch from your current guidance program to a brand new program that commands your spacecraft to a different attitude. Assume the new attitude is a discontinuous step change from your ...
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1answer
91 views

Could Ingenuity use the shadow of its legs for navigation to fly autonomously to the sample cache depot location?

It's summertime now in Jezero crater, and according to the HORIZONS Web-Interface the subsolar latitude for Mars varies between both the end of May and November 2021 from 18.5⁰ N to ~25.5⁰ N and back ...
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How does the orbit determination accuracy depend on the measurement accuracy?

How does the measurement accuracy affect the orbit determination accuracy? Is there any analytical way to find that relation? E.g., 10m range measurement accuracy (1sigma) results in a 100m RMS error ...
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4answers
799 views

Most accurate attitude determination system in spacecraft?

It seems that IMUs suffer from integration errors that build up over time, so they are not the most accurate means of determining the attitude of your spacecraft. So what then would be the most ...
3
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39 views

Could a Mars rover reliably navigate using the local magnetic fields?

Mars does not have a global magnetic field which guides charged particles entering the atmosphere. Mars has multiple umbrella-shaped magnetic fields mainly in the Southern Hemisphere, which are ...
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44 views

Detailed description of space shuttle major and minor GNC loops

Warning: repetitive question ahead. Please skip if you're tired of splitting hairs on these things. Is there a detailed description of the major and minor GNC loops of the space shuttle? I've learned ...
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41 views

Falcon 9: Stable platform or strapdown IMU?

What type of IMU does the Falcon 9 use? Is it a stable platform aligned with a global frame by gimbals? Or is it a strapdown system fixed to the body of the rocket and therefore aligned not with a ...
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1answer
103 views

Was space shuttle position corrected for before orbital insertion?

The space shuttle derived its attitude and state vector primarily from its integrating accelerometers and rate gyros. Data from the accelerometers and rate gyros came in at a low rate (0.25-0.5 Hz, or ...
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1answer
69 views

How well could the New Horizons spacecraft localize itself in space in 3D using parallax?

NASA’s New Horizons Conducts the First Interstellar Parallax Experiment was exciting news, the spacecraft's computer, communication and camera all continue to work in the Kuiper belt due to rigorous ...
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1answer
165 views

How far would we have to get from the Solar system to be unable to recognize constellations?

So the question is simple. How many light years would we have to go from Earth until we would be unable to determine known constellations?
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1answer
243 views

Guidance vs. Navigation vs. Estimation

I'm still confused over what exactly falls under the scope of Navigation, Guidance, and Estimation systems. Say I have a bunch of IMUs and use them to determine my position and orientation and my ...
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40 views

Finding way back in Intergalactic travel

Is it possible to create GPS-equivalent system for space travel to guide us in which direction to travel? Assume that if we are able to reach a far-off galaxy millions or billions of light-years away ...
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What's the current state of Venus orbital infrastructure?

As per this Wikipedia article there have been a total of 5 orbiters successfully deployed to Venus: Venera-15 Venera-16 Magellan Venus Express Akatsuki Of which only the Akatsuki seems to be ...
3
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1answer
94 views

What's the current state of Mars orbital infrastructure?

As per this Wikipedia article Mars currently has 6 operational artificial satellites: 2001 Mars Odyssey Mars Express Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter Mars Orbiter Mission Mars Atmosphere and Volatile ...
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1answer
75 views

Travel time from lunar orbit (EML2) to Jupiter using skyhook only?

I am doing background research for a science fiction story, and hoping someone can help with this navigational question. Voyager 2 reached Jupiter from Earth in about 2 years. However (if I understand ...
4
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1answer
114 views

Is pulsar timing a viable positioning system for solar system missions

I was reading one of the questions about a version of GPS around Mars, and I started wondering about a Solar system wide positioning system -- large satellites with accurate clocks and powerful ...
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How could you turn a satellite constellation into a SatNav system?

Apparently, the UK government wants to convert the OneWeb satellites into its own UK SatNav system, following Brexit which limits the UK's access to Galileo's Public Regulated Service [reports from ...
7
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1answer
164 views

How did early inertial navigation systems handle vibration?

In the early ICBM-era rockets, it seems that inertial navigation accuracy was critical. How did these systems filter out the noise in the data due to the vibration of the rocket? If a fairly slow ...
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77 views

How does Falcon 9 differ from Shuttle or Apollo inertial guidance?

I read a very detailed analysis of the Saturn V. From it I learned there is a computer and guidance "room" which is an extra slice of rocket stacked between the 2nd or 3rd launch stages and the the ...
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1answer
64 views

How can I generate Chebyshev cofficients from SPICE for J2000 Inertial to Moon ME Frame?

I want to extract the Chebyshev coefficients in order to be able to calculate the time-varying transformation from the ICRF / J2000 Inertial frame to the Moon ME (moon mean earth) frame. I know I can ...
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1answer
161 views

What is the math behind satellite star trackers?

I'm trying to understand how star trackers on satellites work and what math they use to determine attitude. For example, is there any trigonometry involved with the stars and how specifically does ...
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1answer
968 views

How does a space vehicle which carries Curiosity or Spirit rover reach a planet? [closed]

I don't know much science but was curious about it. So, what I've seen in movies is that there are lot of objects in the space and many other space items (made of rocks, moving stars etc.). So when ...
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1answer
170 views

How did the automatic sextant on the late-1950's MIT Mars Probe work?

The reason MIT was chosen to develop the Apollo guidance computer was their Instrumentation Lab. They specialised in inertial navigation and had done impressive work on inertial navigation for ...
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Perseverance Rover to drive carefully for months while helicopter hangs from underside?

The image below is cropped from the high resolution version of NASA's Mars Helicopter and Perseverance Rover PIA23824 and shows the helicopter in it's stowed position on the underside of the rover ...
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How to estimate that receiving GNSS signals Earth while orbiting the Moon will still provide locations to about 200 meters of uncertainty?

IEEE Spectrum's Can Astronauts Use GPS to Navigate on the Moon? NASA Scientists Say Yes says: Kar-Ming Cheung and Charles Lee of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California did the math, and ...
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How will NASA's software for autonomous navigation in cis-lunar space be tested; what information is processed, what outputs evaluated?

NASA news item NASA Funds CubeSat Pathfinder Mission to Unique Lunar Orbit says: The pathfinder mission represents a rapid lunar flight demonstration and could launch as early as December 2020. ...
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1answer
78 views

Could Apollo astronauts see other planets with the CM Scanning Telescope?

The Apollo Command Module had the Scanning Telescope for navigating, "Apollo astronaut located a specific star using a single-power, wide-field telescope." I'm not concerned whether it could ...
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1answer
204 views

RCS or Reaction Wheel for a 30kg cubesat

I am working on the design of a cubesat, it weighs approximately 30 kg and I am doing the Navigation and Guide Control system. I was wondering if I had some blueprint for some RCS or Reaction Wheels ...
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1answer
61 views

What is the precision attitude estimation strategy for satellites, under impulsive thrust manoeuvres?

Satellites mostly rely on star trackers and gyros for precision attitude knowledge. Under impulsive thrust manoeuvres, I expect the star trackers to blur and provide no attitude knowledge. What is the ...
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1answer
373 views

Can we go anywhere in space with only THREE reaction wheels and ONE chemical thruster?

I had a discussion the other day with some of my peers and they were very keen on the fact the it is possible to change your orbit as desired using a single thruster and a three reaction wheels. The ...
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1answer
264 views

Can reaction wheels be used for detumbling?

During orbit insertion, the satellite can start with a high tip-off rate which requires detumbling. From what I have read, detumbling is usually done using magnetorquers. I was wondering if ...
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39 views

Azimuth and elevation from satellite point of view [duplicate]

I have read for calculating azimuth and elevation from the Earth we use north east up reference frame. What reference frame is used for satellite to measure azimuth and elevation on the Earth? And ...
10
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1answer
788 views

How would the state vector be updated in the Apollo Guidance Computer during coasting to/from the moon if communication with Earth was lost entirely?

This source https://www.hq.nasa.gov/alsj/alsj-average_g.html states that: From time to time, Houston could update the onboard SV using tracking and other available date; [sic] but, generally, it ...
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1answer
338 views

How did the star tracker on the Corona (Key Hole) satellite work?

The first Corona Photographic Surveillance Satellite was launched in 1959. Starting from the third mission, launched in 1961, the satellites were equipped with a star tracker. From Wikipedia: ...
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1answer
88 views

Mode during Apollo landing in cross pointer

In this Question the excellent answer explains from the handbook that the cross pointer input can be either from landing radar or PGNS or AGS. My question is which mode was choosen during the final ...
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1answer
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Radar Altimeter in Space Shuttle

I was going throught the Space Shuttle Handbook, chapter Guidance and Navigation. In one of the Note boxes, it is written Radar altimeter altitude is not used for navigation or guidance. The ...
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6answers
16k views

Given small computational resources, how was navigation implemented? (Not samples of old guidance software)

Update 2 : The youtube vidoe How did NASA Steer the Saturn V answers this question and then some, a must watch. Update: I really wanted to know how spacecraft navigation (not guidance) computers ...
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Have lunar (or martian) rovers exploited shadows, perhaps for terrain comprehension or obstacle avoidance?

This answer proposes that light bars would be better than a single headlight for night time navigation on the Moon because a single headlight will generate hard shadows. Considering this is exactly ...
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1answer
169 views

How do small, spin stabilized launchers follow a rhumb line?

This concise answer to What exactly is rhumb-line control in the context of a launch trajectory? explains the concept in the context of the SS-520 nanosatellite launch vehicle (which "doesn't exist"). ...
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1answer
586 views

What exactly is rhumb-line control in the context of a launch trajectory?

The conference paper SS-520 Nano satellite launcher and its flight result SSC18-IX-03 from the 32nd Annual AIAA/USU Conference on Small Satellites linked in this answer describes the use of rhumb-line ...
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2answers
7k views

How did astronauts using rovers tell direction without compasses on the Moon? [duplicate]

I read that the astronauts who used Lunar rovers used heading indicators, which typically use compasses, for direction. How, on the Moon, did their equipment tell the direction of travel, presuming a ...
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2answers
123 views

Help understanding exactly how an atomic clock facilitates “self-driving spacecraft” when paired with an onboard camera?

The TechCrunch article NASA details Deep Space Atomic Clock and other tests launching on SpaceX Falcon Heavy says: Jill Seubert, Deep Space Navigator for NASA, explained that this is the world’s ...
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1answer
147 views

How does an onboard atomic clock help interplanetary navigation?

On 2019 June 22, JPL will launch and test the accuracy of an onboard atomic clock. Its FAQ says that it will improve interplanetary navigation because for the ship to determine its position, instead ...
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1answer
131 views

Satellite mission design/performance requirements to attitude/orbit control design specifications

Are there any good sources that discuss: the steps involved in deriving attitude/orbit control design specifications, from satellite mission design/performance requirements?
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2answers
287 views

Is there any kind of research on *sub*-orbital rendezvous-ing with a space tug outside the atmosphere?

The key difference with a plain old-fashioned orbital rendezvous would seem to be that there'd be limited time to only briefly match velocities and trajectories: Let's say a vehicle launched from ...
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1answer
301 views

Celestrak GLONASS TLE's showing satellite numbers not listed in the GLONASS constellation, others missing

For a project, I'm retrieving TLE information live from http://celestrak.com/ and using them to simulate satellite orbits. The TLE's for the GLONASS constellation (http://celestrak.com/NORAD/elements/...
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1answer
375 views

When did Houston figure out where the Eagle had landed?

Between starting the descent burn three seconds late, and having to avoid landing in a boulder field, the Apollo 11 descent module almost completely missed the target landing ellipse. During Apollo ...