Welcome to the NavList Message Boards.


A Community Devoted to the Preservation and Practice of Celestial Navigation and Other Methods of Traditional Wayfinding

Compose Your Message

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

    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.

    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.
    NavList message boards and member settings: www.fer3.com/NavList
    Members may optionally receive posts by email.
    To cancel email delivery, send a message to NoMail[at]fer3.com

    Browse Files

    Drop Files


    What is NavList?

    Join NavList

    (please, no nicknames or handles)
    Do you want to receive all group messages by email?
    Yes No

    You can also join by posting. Your first on-topic post automatically makes you a member.

    Posting Code

    Enter the email address associated with your NavList messages. Your posting code will be emailed to you immediately.

    Email Settings

    Posting Code:

    Custom Index

    Start date: (yyyymm dd)
    End date: (yyyymm dd)

    Visit this site
    Visit this site
    Visit this site
    Visit this site
    Visit this site
    Visit this site