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    Re: astrocompass still in use
    From: Paul Hirose
    Date: 2002 Sep 26, 11:04 -0700

    Robert Eno wrote:
    > You worked on B-52's??? Now that is very interesting. Were you a pilot?
    > Navigator? I would give anything to get a ride on one of those babies!
    > I'd love to have a gander at the MD-1 Astrocompass. It sounds like a very
    > interesting device.
    I was in avionics maintenance in the USAF for many years, working on
    the B-52, B-1, and B-2.
    The MD-1 was part of the old ASQ-38 vacuum tube bomb-nav system on the
    B-52. This Web page lists the four main subsystems:
    I worked in the Bomb-Nav shop. Our world was the last subsystem on the
    list, the ASB-9A or ASB-16. The remaining ones belonged to other
    shops. I think Instrument/Autopilot shop took care of the first two,
    and Radar shop the last. It took a lot of different skills to keep
    the ASQ-38 working!
    My recollection (about 20 years old, and remember I didn't work on the
    astrocompass) was that the MD-1 had a clock-like dial where you set
    GHA Aries. I assume an internal clock on sidereal time kept it updated
    after that. There were two pairs of counters like odometers where you
    set the SHA and declination of two stars. The system could only track
    one at a time but you could change stars at the flick of a switch.
    There may have been an instrument to display azimuth or precise
    heading, and there definitely was one for intercept.
    There was no automatic way to shift the present position counters
    based on the intercept from the astrocompass. You would have to
    manually change them. That part I'm sure about, since it was what I
    worked on.
    Back in those days (early 80s) the B-52 carried a periscopic bubble
    sextant too. You'd commonly see the Air Almanac and HO 249 stuffed
    behind the nav's seat. I think the gunner normally operated the
    sextant, calling his readings down to the nav.

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