Pines, Darryll J. A. James Clark School of Engineering, University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland.
Sheikh, Suneel I. Aster Laboratories, Shoreview, Minnesota.
- Prediction and discovery of pulsars
- History and principles
- Navigation system comparison
- Additional applications
- Links to Primary Literature
- Additional Readings
Throughout history, celestial sources have been utilized for vehicle navigation. Great ships have successfully sailed Earth's oceans utilizing only these celestial aides. Many vehicles operating in the space environment also navigate utilizing celestial sources for their missions. However, most space-vehicle operations rely heavily on Earth-based navigation solutions to complete their tasks. As the cost of vehicle operations continues to increase, spacecraft navigation is evolving away from Earth-based solutions toward increasingly autonomous methods. For vehicles operating near Earth, the current Global Positioning System (GPS), and similar human-developed systems, can provide a complete navigation solution comprised of referenced time, position, and attitude. However, these human-developed systems have limited scope for operations of vehicles relatively far from Earth. Thus there is a need for an autonomous celestial-based system that can be used to provide a complete navigation solution for spacecraft missions.
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