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    Re: Cel nav in space
    From: Bill B
    Date: 2005 Jan 5, 00:24 -0500

    >> They could measure stars' positions relative to the axes of the
    >> spacecraft...
    > You could also measure the "altitude" above the earth.  I don't know
    > that it was pointless to use a sextant for position fixing; rather,
    > there were more efficient methods.
    You touched on a few of the things that puzzled me.  I know nothing
    firsthand about aircraft sextant use, so wondered if a bubble sextant would
    be usable with some corrections, or if a traditional sextant with a
    mighty-big dip correction (in the neighborhood of 12+ degrees at 100 nm
    altitude) might suffice.  While using the diameter of the Earth and sextant
    reading of it's angular diameter to find distance off (altitude) initially
    occurred to me, my guess was the 120d-130d range of a standard sextant would
    not cover the horizon-to-horizon range of a craft in the 100-200 mile range
    (a SWAG) above an approximately spherical body 6900 nm in diameter.  Then
    again, NASA is probably not "standard."
    Given my objective ten months ago was learning to use a sextant and tables
    to verify where I reckoned I was--without a GPS of Loran or coastal
    piloting--sextant use in a space craft is a bit above me ;-)
    What a long strange trip it been.  But great fun.  Thanks for keeping it out
    of the "cookbook" realm.
    Thanks to all,

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