Bedford A. Lampkin

Peer Reviewed

Abstract: The feasibility of using a hand-held sextant for taking navigation measurements from on board a manned spacecraft is being studied at Ames Research Center. It would be advantageous to use a reliable, light-weight, hand-held insturment instead of a relatively complex, vehicle-mounted, automatic or semiautomatic device for taking such measurements if it provided sufficiently accurate angular measurements. The primary objective of the Ames research program is to determine the ooperational feasibility, scope of application, and accuracy of the manual measurement technique. A flight simulation facility has been used for examining navigator performance and the operational problems of the sighting task with hand-held sextants. Measurements of real star and lunar landmark angles are being obtained to evaluate the problems associated with absolute sighting accuracy. The accuracy tyupically considered necesary for space navigation is 10 arc seconds. A sighting experiment on board the Gemini spacecraft will be conducted to examine in a more realistic environment the feasibility and operational problems of using a hand-held navigation sighting instrument and to validate the results of ground-based investigations. The purpose of this paper is to describe some results of this program.
Published in: NAVIGATION, Journal of the Institute of Navigation, Volume 12, Number 4
Pages: 312 - 320
Cite this article: Lampkin, Bedford A., "SEXTANT SIGHTING PERFORMANCE FOR SPACE NAVIGATION USING SIMULATED AND REAL CELESTIAL TARGETS", NAVIGATION, Journal of The Institute of Navigation, Vol. 12, No. 4, Winter 1965-1966, pp. 312-320.
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