CURRENT DEVELOPMENTS IN NAVIGATION SATELLITES

Eugene Ehrlich

Peer Reviewed

Abstract: The potentiality of artificial earth satellites to provide global, all weather, accurate navigation information to marine craft was demonstrated by the U.S. Navy's Transit 1B, launched on April 13, 1960. Since then the Navy has placed additional navigation satellites into space as an aid to their surface and subsurface vessels. In January 1965 the Department of Defense announced that the Navy's satellite navigation system was in operation to enable ships of the fleet to pin-point their positions anywhere in the world. The USS Long Beach used the satellites to aid its navigation during a journey last summer. These satellites have clearly demonstrated the capability of space technology to aid man in a new and practical application. NASA has followed the Navy's navigation satellite program quite intently since the agency was formed in late 1958. In order to evaluate the Navy's satellite system as a potential aid to non-military users, NASA has recently arranged for the purchase of two of the Navy's SRN-9 antennas, receivers and computers by the National Science Foundation and the U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey. The NSF ship USNS Eltanin plans to operate in the Antartica region for a few months during our winter of 1965-66 to conduct geophysical experiments. In this region there are no electronic navigation aids and accurate positions are needed by the experimenters. Prior to its journey south, the vessel's crew will evaluate the position accuracy and operational utility of the SRN-9 equipment with the Navy's navigaiton satellite. A critical technical analysis of their results will be presented to NASA. The USC&GS vessel Pioneer is now in the Pacific Ocean to conduct a survey of the area for the U.S. part of the Upper Mantle Project. The vessel contains Loran A and C navigation equipment with which to determine its position and make comparisons of position fix accuracy with that obtained via the satellite. In addition, prior to leavign the U.S. area it will run tests off the Pacific Coast where there are known geodetic coordinates marked along the shore line. The results will be compared with the satellite position results. Upon completion of the vessel's present assignment at the end of this summer, an analysis of their results with the satellite shipboard equipment will be prepared for NASA.
Published in: NAVIGATION, Journal of the Institute of Navigation, Volume 12, Number 4
Pages: 330 - 338
Cite this article: Ehrlich, Eugene, "CURRENT DEVELOPMENTS IN NAVIGATION SATELLITES", NAVIGATION, Journal of The Institute of Navigation, Vol. 12, No. 4, Winter 1965-1966, pp. 330-338.
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