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    Re: Celesital Navigation Through Clouds
    From: Frank Reed
    Date: 2009 Dec 18, 18:09 -0800

    Peter Monta, you wrote:
    "Wouldn't a UAV be the logical solution here? I'm not sure units with 40000ft capability are all that cheap yet, though. A very small payload might suffice for sun sights (small camera). Establishing the offset from UAV position to ship would probably come free with the overall control scheme to get the thing back, and the 2D offset would only be a mile or two anyway. Fixed wing might be best for smallest platform jitter when taking the sight."

    Nice! That's a very clever solution to the problem of the 40,000 foot mast. And if the sensor package is cheap enough (a camera and a radio with a ten-mile range?) then you could make them expendable and launch on weather balloons. The price of the balloon might turn out to be greater than the cel nav package. Whether that's more economical than a mini/micro-UAV or not would depend on the cost of the "toy plane" and the expected loss rate. In any case, a system like this means no sextant and no navigator holding said sextant, so it certainly takes the charm out of it, but at least it would still be real celestial navigation.

    -FER

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