T. C. Duxbury and C. H. Acton, Jr.

Peer Reviewed

Abstract: SATELLITE-STAR OPTICAL NAVIGATION, a new spacecraft navigation technique has been successfully demonstrated during Mariner 9’s approach to Mars in mid-November of 1971. As Mariner 9 approached mars, 21 TV pictures of its satellites, Phobos and Deimos, were taken and transmitted to earth. On earth, these pictures were carefully processed in order to locate the positions of the bright satellites against the relatively faint star background. These position fixes were used to obtain more accurate knowledge of the Mariner 9’s path with respect to Mars and its satellites. The accuracy of the new navigation technique has been confirmed by comparison with the standard radio navigation results on Mariner 9. This successful demonstration of satellite-star optical navigation is the culmination of over 2 years of development work at JPL sponsored by NASA’s Office of Aeronautics and Space Technology (OAST). NASA now has developed and demonstrated a prototype of a more accurate navigation system, using onboard measurements, which is essential to meeting the challenging requirements of future missions such as the multi-planet gravity-assisted outer planet missions. This paper describes the objectives and performance of the pre-flight and real time activities leading to the successful demonstration of satellite-star navigation data.
Published in: NAVIGATION: Journal of the Institute of Navigation, Volume 19, Number 4
Pages: 295 - 307
Cite this article: Duxbury, T. C., Acton, C. H., Jr.,, "ON-BOARD OPTICAL NAVIGATION DATA FROM MARINER 71", NAVIGATION: Journal of The Institute of Navigation, Vol. 19, No. 4, Winter 1972-1973, pp. 295-307.
Full Paper: ION Members/Non-Members: 1 Download Credit
Sign In