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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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Is it possible to navigate space travel with no computer?

From launch to land could a person travel in space with only mechanical devices like a sextant? With enough experience what would be the minimum devices needed? Which vehicle currently would be easier ...
3
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0answers
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Why would someone use Modified Rodrigues Parameters over Quaternions for spacecraft attitude estimation? And vice versa?

I see quite some papers on spacecraft attitude determination and control, that rely on quaternions. While some others rely on MRPs. The advantage that I see so far is that... for quaternions, the ...
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1answer
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Has a cubesat in LEO determined its orbit and position using only terrestrial cameras plus the Sun? (no GPS, starcam, uplink, magnetic sensors, etc.)

From LEO, a cubesat with several reasonable cell phone-like cameras (or better) can image the Earth and it seems straightforward for some standard pattern recognition algorithms to find the sunlit ...
3
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1answer
68 views

Help understanding BepiColombo's weak capture at Mercury's L1 and need for delta-differential one-way range measurements

This four-minute BBC podcast Mission to Mercury: BepiColombo spacecraft ready for launch highlights several challenges of the BepiColombo mission, including its orbital-mechanical aspects and is worth ...
4
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1answer
106 views

What brand and model is the hand-held sextant tested on the ISS?

Astronaut Alexander Gerst is testing an hand-held sextant on the ISS in the context of the experiment Sextant Navigation for Exploration Missions, see picture below. What is the brand and model of ...
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1answer
72 views

How was the Apollo IMU calibrated?

Both the command and lunar modules of the Apollo spacecraft has navigation systems with inertial management units. IMUs are known to drift over time. How were they recalibrated? My answer below ...
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3answers
196 views

How would blockchain be integrated into spaceflight? Have any methods been proposed yet?

Blockchain offers a way of keeping track of information such that its authenticity can be verified and it can not easily be falsified. In a space environment with an increasing number of both active ...
3
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0answers
51 views

How are Hayabusa2's target markers deployed?

This presentation talks about 'target markers' which are five soft, reflective balls that are released onto the asteroid's surface prior to landing. They allow the probe to more precisely locate the ...
2
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0answers
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What is the nature of the sextant tests on the ISS for Orion cis-lunar emergency navigation?

According to the NASA Johnson video Space to Ground: A Star to Steer By: 08/10/2018: A tool that once helped sailors cross vast oceans for centuries is now being put to the test in space. The crew ...
7
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1answer
259 views

Machine Learning and Classical Navigation, Guidance and Control in Space Exploration

Due to the increasing availability of large quantities of data and computational power, machine learning (ML) is providing increasingly better results in various fields. Much research has been done on ...
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0answers
271 views

Does the “17” really mean anything with respect to GNSS orbits being rational factions of a sidereal day?

This answer suggests that the orbital periods of the four large GNSSS contstellations are linked to the sidereal rotation period of the earth by rational numbers with 17 or 34 as the denominator in ...
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3answers
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What is a gyrocompass and how might one be be used by a planetary rover?

In comments and links therein below the question How does Curiosity know how to point and move it's high gain antenna in real time? there is mention of a gyrocompass. I am aware that gyros can be ...
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1answer
585 views

Was the Apollo sextant used (or tested) to determine position while in Earth orbit?

The video Apollo Program Guidance and Navigation System 79974 explains that the spacecraft's sextant could be used together with the navigation computer to determine a position fix while in Earth ...
6
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3answers
399 views

Soyuz has a Space Periscope?

The image Photo ID: ISS049-E-003166 can be found in Flikr and Wikimedia Commons as well as in Spaceflight Now. There is a long (perhaps 1 meter?) green structure that is sticking out from the side of ...
2
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1answer
137 views

Is NICER/SEXTANT the first civilian “spacecraft” to determine it's own position in space without GPS or uplinked data?

Computers on board spacecraft can determine their positions using a combination of uplinked data from the ground and for those closer to Earth, GPS/GNSS. (See this answer and this question for ...
6
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1answer
98 views

Inexplicable Offset in Satellite Laser Ranging (SLR) observations

I am struggling with the implementation of a Satellite Laser Ranging (SLR) validation tool. The situation is as follows: I am provided with a framework which gives me the position of a SLR ...
6
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1answer
351 views

Navigating in space with only cameras

I'd like to figure out how to determine where something is in space (solar system) based only solely on measurements that can be preformed on location visually/with a camera. Let's say I'm floating in ...
5
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0answers
117 views

GPS Receiver Autonomous Integrity Monitoring (RAIM) - parity space method

I am trying to understand RAIM. My teacher explained three RAIM methods, I will just quote all of them because I think that the jargon might not be consistent. Maximum separation / Position ...
2
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1answer
412 views

Does Venus have a north star or south star?

I am trying to figure out how you would navigate on Venus. On Earth you can use Polaris as a North Star to find north. Would there be a star on the Venus sky which could function as either a north ...
5
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5answers
350 views

How might Earth's location be referenced in stellar terms?

Apologies if this has been asked before using terminology for somebody more familiar with the subject matter. I've searched but cannot find an answer. Assuming space travel was possible (to other ...
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2answers
77 views

What's a good source of information on determining spacecraft positions via radio?

I'm willing to spend a decent amount on a textbook, but please tell me about cheap or free sources as well.
6
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1answer
170 views

What determines if a star tracker blends two stars that are close to each other?

If two stars are very close to each other, a star tracker could identify the pair as a single star, with a magnitude and position different from both stars. This obviously impairs the software's ...
2
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1answer
157 views

When was stereoscopic photography first used intentionally on solar system body?

I have stumbled across the fascinating page Photogrammetric Analysis Of Apollo 11 Imagery: New camera-station map with improved locations at the following website: https://www.hq.nasa.gov/alsj/a11/...
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2answers
222 views

Satellite Position

The Voyager 1 took one last photograph in 1990 and after that, the camera equipment was shut off for power saving. However, the estimates of where the photo was taken in space vary by many hundreds of ...
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1answer
267 views

How do we define geographical coordinates on non-spheroid celestial bodies?

On Earth, we can use latitude and longitude to fairly accurately describe a single point on the surface of the earth. This works because the earth is, for all intents and purposes, a sphere. It got me ...
3
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1answer
180 views

Navigating to Proxima-B

What sorts of unique problems are there with planning a trajectory to Proxima Centauri, besides it being out of the plane of the ecliptic? (I'm guessing if you've got the juice to make it there, ...
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2answers
1k views

Height of navigation satellites above Earth

What is the distance between the Earth's surface and the motorists' satnav satellites?
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3answers
364 views

How is the trajectory of spacecraft transferring between planets monitored?

The doppler effect can give a pretty measure of radial speed relative to Earth, and radio transmissions can narrow down the radial position, but what about everything else? I can imagine several ways, ...
4
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1answer
157 views

What naturally occurring navigational information is available for an autonomous return of SLS's EM-1?

This answer details some of the requirements that would need to be met if the Space Launch System's planned Exploration Mission 1 were to be human rated. I've further trimmed that truncated selection ...
5
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2answers
369 views

Have guidelines for red & green navigation light placement on spacecraft been established?

I am curious if guidelines for the placement of red/green navigation lights on spacecraft been established. In maritime and most aviation situations, right/left have meaning because up/down does. A ...
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0answers
134 views

How might the Lunar X Prize contestant spacecraft navigate their descent from orbit, to landing?

EDIT: Please note the following items: The Mission Requirements for claiming the Grand or Second Place Prize include the following: Landing – A team must land its craft on the surface of ...
15
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2answers
789 views

What was the globe instrument in Vostok 1?

This image was attached to the Wikipedia article on Vostok 1 with a perfunctory caption "Part of the Vostok 1 instrument panel". I'm interested in the globe in the center. What is the name of this ...
4
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3answers
314 views

How can a deep-space spacecraft determine in real time the direction of delta-v?

My spacecraft knows it wants to add a certain delta-v in a certain direction to its motion, relative to the stars. It will calculate current mass based on propellant usage history, which hasn't been ...
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2answers
242 views

How would you navigate an airship on Venus?

Since there is no magnetic field compass is out. No GPS satellites either. I guess some old school methods could be used but I see some potential problems. Assume we are over the cloud tops, can we ...
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1answer
256 views

Does NASA use Newtonian model of gravity for plotting the course of Juno or general relativity?

With the huge mass of Jupiter and its fast, approximately 10 hours daily rotation, there may be substantial twisting of space-time around it. A distortion of such magnitude that may call for ...
7
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1answer
238 views

Deep space craft antenna aiming

In order to aim an antenna at Earth, how do unmanned spacecraft find their own orientation (xyz position in space, what direction it is flying and which direction the antenna is pointing)? Are they ...
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3answers
394 views

How would an interstellar probe navigate the pull of gravity from stars and other large objects on the way?

Refer to the ambitious probe sent by Yuri Milner, Stephen Hawking and Mark Zuckerberg to Alpha Centauri: Yuri Milner is spending $100 million on a probe that could travel to Alpha Centauri within ...
12
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1answer
457 views

Will Glonass, Galileo, or BeiDou-2 satellites provide better cis-lunar navigation than GPS?

My question is: Has there been any effort to improve or optimize the radiation patterns on the subsequent satellite navigation constellations (e.g. Glonass, Galileo, BeiDou-2) to facilitate trans-GEO ...
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0answers
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Has GPS been used beyond GEO? [duplicate]

When researching this question I came upon a presentation entitled Enabling a Fully Interoperable GNSS Space Service Volume; slides 12, 24, 25, 26 are also shown below. The idea is that while GPS ...
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2answers
1k views

How is space mapped out?

Here on earth, we have four directions(East, West, North, South). We have earth maps which shows our exact location from any other location in 2D plane. But in space, planets and stars are in three ...
15
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2answers
3k views

How are GPS satellite clocks synchronized with each other in the earth's frame of reference?

I have been looking at different threads. It seems like the receiver clock on Earth doesn't have to be synchronized with the satellite clocks. But I believe the satellite clocks need to be ...
22
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1answer
5k views

How did the Apollo 11's Eagle ascent stage find the CSM after leaving the Moon?

I've always been curious how did the Apollo 11's Eagle ascent stage of the Apollo Lunar Module navigate back to the Apollo Command/Service Module (CSM) that was in lunar orbit? Was it simply a case ...
4
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1answer
172 views

State of the art of satellite Attitude Determination and Control Systems

I know I might get an answer like "the sky is not the limit"... But considering the actual state of the art of modern satellites ADC systems. Haven't we reached a "maximum" yet? Or are there still a ...
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4answers
422 views

Do GPS receivers use trilateration or distances between satellites?

My main question is whether GPS receivers use trilateration or the distances between satellites. On GPS.gov and their videos, it says you receivers use trilateration. But, I have seen people say that ...
18
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3answers
2k views

How did astronauts navigate the Lunar Roving Vehicle (LRV) over the surface of the Moon?

The Lunar Roving Vechicle (LRV), also known as Moon Buggy, was used as a form of transportation on the surface of the Moon during the Apollo program. What system did the astronauts use for ...
8
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1answer
624 views

Radiation pattern and signal strength of navigation satellite antennas

Where can I find the actual radiation pattern and signal strength of transmitting antennas used by GNSS navigation satellites/constellations (GPS, GLONASS, IRNSS, etc)?
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1answer
722 views

What is the maximum acceptable latency in rocket control computers?

Rockets require real-time computers, in that there are operational deadlines between events and system response. How quickly does the rocket's controller need to respond to sensors and events, without ...
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2answers
404 views

Will New Horizons seek a third target?

New Horizons will fly past the Kuiper Belt object 2014 MU69 in January 2019. This will use 56 m/s of the remaining ∆V budget of 130 m/s (1). The encounter will occur near the inner edge of the belt: ...
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1answer
444 views

Autonomous Navigation for deep space missions

Autonomous navigation started in early phases of deep space exploration as a provision to achieve accuracy for planet/natural satellite targeting and approach, where radio tracking accuracies were low,...
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2answers
946 views

Interplanetary ranging accuracy?

What are the two or three most accurate technologies used to determine interplanetary spacecraft distance (e.g. Doppler / radiometric tracking...), and what accuracy is currently obtained from such ...