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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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9 votes
1 answer
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Is there any open source software that can compute GPS ground coverage? I need a free alternative to AGI's System Tool Kit (STK)

Does any open source software exist that can compute GPS ground coverage in real time? At work I used STK which would do the job perfectly, but I'm at school now so I only have the free version. For ...
user3069's user avatar
  • 129
2 votes
1 answer
764 views

How are coordinates and cardinal points defined on on Earth's Moon? [duplicate]

I came across this page - http://www.hq.nasa.gov/alsj/alsjcoords.html that mentions the various landing coordinates of of NASA missions on the Earth's moon. The cordinates are given in the same way as ...
Lord Loh.'s user avatar
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73 votes
2 answers
72k views

When will New Horizons overtake Voyager 1 in distance from the Sun?

Basically, what the title asks. To my understanding, New Horizons is currently the fastest spacecraft that's moving away from the Sun, with arguably only Helios-A and Helios-B possibly faster still, ...
TildalWave's user avatar
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5 votes
3 answers
2k views

How many men or women does it take to fly an interstellar space ship?

On a non-scheduled flight, would an interstellar space ship need an active crew consisting of a captain, several officers and a number of technicians, similar to the bridge of the Enterprise, or would ...
user avatar
17 votes
1 answer
17k views

How do spacecraft navigate through the Asteroid belt to avoid collision?

Have any spacecraft been lost transitioning between Mars and Jupiter? How do spacecraft navigate that field unscathed as well?
klobucar's user avatar
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18 votes
1 answer
3k views

How does the star tracker in Voyager 1 lock onto a specific star?

How does the Voyager 1 star tracker lock onto a specific star and how reliable is it? Are there approaches in more modern trackers used such as pattern recognition or other methods which would enable ...
Tomislav Muic's user avatar
7 votes
1 answer
276 views

How does Curiosity find its own way to selected destination?

What kind of technique does the Curiosity rover employ to find the safest (probably not the fastest) way to its destination that was given to it by NASA from the Earth?
Hash's user avatar
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14 votes
1 answer
656 views

How dense are Saturn's rings?

How high is the density of asteroids in the rings of Saturn? Would it be possible for a spacecraft to fly through the thicker rings without colliding with asteroids? Would it be necessary to avoid a ...
Philipp's user avatar
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24 votes
2 answers
2k views

Is there a Martian "North Star", usable as Earth's North Star?

Mars has a different axial tilt than Earth. It stands to reason that the constellations will remain identical from Mars, but their locations will be somewhat different. On Earth, the North Star is ...
PearsonArtPhoto's user avatar
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32 votes
8 answers
5k views

How could one navigate on Mars?

There are two primary systems of navigation on Earth today, using maps/compass, and using GPS satellites. It seems unlikely there will be a full constellation of GPS satellites prior to the first ...
PearsonArtPhoto's user avatar
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20 votes
2 answers
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How did NASA determine the distance and velocity of voyager 1?

According to Wikipedia At a distance of about 125.97 AU (1.884 × 10$^{10}$ km) from the Sun as of September 9, 2012, it is the farthest manmade object from Earth As of 2013, the probe was moving ...
Hash's user avatar
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22 votes
1 answer
10k views

What coordinate system is used in space for navigation?

On Earth is possible to define the position of something using WGS, and the same system is used for navigation. What is used in space instead? Are different systems used for Earth-orbiting objects (...
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28 votes
2 answers
1k views

How can spacecraft navigate without contact from Earth?

My understanding is that probes within the Solar system primarily rely on Earth-based tracking networks and ephemeris data to navigate. Once they get really close to their destinations, they can ...
coleopterist's user avatar
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22 votes
2 answers
1k views

How far up have satellites used a GNSS for positioning, and how does the precision degrade with altitude?

GNSS satellites (at least GPS ones) are in Medium Earth Orbit (MEO). LEO satellites can use GNSS for positioning. Is this still possible for satellites in elliptical, such as Molniya, orbits? For ...
gerrit's user avatar
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11 votes
1 answer
400 views

In LEO, what is the precision of GNSS-based position compared to traditional methods?

GNSS satellites (at least the GPS ones) are in MEO, so LEO spacecraft can use GNSS for their positioning. I've read that it's quite low-cost compared to the alternatives. How does the precision of ...
gerrit's user avatar
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12 votes
3 answers
206 views

Would tethering to a large mass be an efficient way to change velocity?

Changing velocity rapidly in space is a bit of a problem requiring either the expense of propellant, or aiming past a planet for a gravitational slingshot. If you could fire out a strong tether and ...
Rory Alsop's user avatar
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10 votes
2 answers
274 views

How much adjustment of position is required when making long flights through the solar system?

It is hard enough to exactly aim a rocket when you know all the forces on it, but on a long journey there must be any number of minor gravitational attractions to rocks and other mass in space, and ...
Rory Alsop's user avatar
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