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    Re: Space sextants
    From: Douglas Denny
    Date: 2010 Oct 24, 13:29 -0700

    Ref:
    Frank Reed said:

    "So what about other sextants in space? Douglas Denny in a follow-up to Gary's post suggested that the sextant referred to by Glenn must be some super sextant, the epitome of manual navigation. The facts are a long way from here..."
    ==================

    I do not think Frank has read the reports / references which I gave in the text.
    Otherwise he would not have said that.

    There is a wealth of NASA information of early experimentation of hand-held sextants for space use, including the (so-far) best available information on irradiation effect.

    I do not know if the quotation by Glen Re. Admiral Coutinho was meant to be associated with his early Gemini flight (I doubt it), but the space sextant was certainly used for assessment in later Gemini flights.
    I would expect his references to Coutinho were meant to be an acknowledgement of the pioneering efforts of Coutinho with the use of sextants for aeronautical use, especially if this was made in a public appearance in Portugal.
    --------

    The use of sextants for space flight was seriously being looked into as early as 1963 at least, as there is a report on "Space Fixing Techniques" from a contract with Kollsman Instrument Corp of that date.

    There is a report (December 1968) of the use of the sextant for the Gemini XII flight.

    See:-
    Nasa Technical Note TN D-4952. (December 1968) "Sextant Sighting Measurements from on Board The Gemini XII Spacecraft". By Bedford Lampkin & Donald Smith.

    For the details of the sextant itself:-

    See Nasa report TN D-4585 (May 1968). "A Hand-Held Sextant for Space Flight" by Bedford Lampkin & Donald Smith
    --------

    The space sextant is without any shadow of a doubt the most accurate ever made. The report starts with the statement:-

    " A hand-held sextant has been developed and fabricated for use in space navigation. The instrument is space flight rated. Experienced operators may obtain measurement data having an accuracy of better than 10 seconds of arc."

    Name a sextant Frank that is better than this - thank you.

    Douglas Denny.
    Chichester. England.
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