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    Re: Cel nav in space
    From: Trevor Kenchington
    Date: 2005 Jan 5, 00:14 -0400

    The reason for wanting an accuracy better than 100 metres with a
    thermonuclear warhead is for when you aim to crack the hardened silo in
    which the other guy's ICBM is (if you are lucky) still waiting to be
    fired at your now-empty silo. Outside of the circle of those who really
    know (but won't talk), it is widely supposed that that needs extreme
    It is also said (but again not in public by those who really know) that
    an ICBM's warhead spends the great majority of its flight in free-fall.
    All navigation towards the target has to be provided during the brief
    period between launch and separation from the rocket when the latter
    runs out of fuel. Supposedly, the extreme accuracy of GPS was designed
    to provide U.S. ICBMs with sufficiently-precise positional information
    early in their flights, so that even after any errors had been magnified
    by the long extrapolation in free-fall, they would still arrive close
    enough to their hardened targets to do their jobs.
    Did the Soviets not develop their own GPS-like system? If so, does
    anyone know whether it is still operational?
    Trevor Kenchington
    > Fascinating.  I was once told that Soviet ICBMs used a form of cel nav for
    > targeting, as they could not trust a potential enemy's GPS system ;-)  I
    > quipped, "Big deal. So SA is on and you miss by 100 meters.  What does that
    > matter with multiple warheads?
    > I was surprised to learn that the destination was locked in while the
    > missile was high above the Earth, so a few seconds of an arc off could make
    > a potentially significant difference on final destination.
    > Bill
    Trevor J. Kenchington PhD                         Gadus@iStar.ca
    Gadus Associates,                                 Office(902) 889-9250
    R.R.#1, Musquodoboit Harbour,                     Fax   (902) 889-9251
    Nova Scotia  B0J 2L0, CANADA                      Home  (902) 889-3555
                         Science Serving the Fisheries

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