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    Re: celestial navigation on Gemini and Apollo flights
    From: Paul Hirose
    Date: 2008 Sep 16, 13:42 -0700

    Marcel Tschudin wrote:
    > I'm questioning where his apparent
    > horizon really was when looking at the disappearance of a star through
    > so much airmass. Could it be that the whole exercise wasn't really one
    > for finding the position but rather an experiment for measuring the
    > refraction at high zenith angles?
    
    I don't think so. The purpose of the Module VI experiment was to
    demonstrate navigation and rendezvous without help from Mission Control:
    
    "I remember Dick Carley, Module VI's strongest supporter, taking me
    aside one day shortly after I had been assigned to the Gemini 10 crew
    and extolling the virtues of on-board navigation. Dick started with the
    Arabs, tracing the progress of civilization in terms of the distance and
    accuracy of man's travels. 'Out of sight of land finally,' he whispered
    in sepulchral awe at the audacity of the early great navigators. Dick
    would make me a modern-day Magellan. Dick would delete both EVAs and
    make Gemini 10 a navigation orgy, repeating orbit determination and
    prediction exercises over and over until they had been perfected. Of
    course he was talking to the wrong guy."
    
    But I agree, it is odd that Collins said the stars were "snuffed out by
    the atmosphere" as he looked through the sextant. I wonder if he
    confused that with the photometer experiment, in which he measured the
    change in magnitude of setting stars as they went down into the atmosphere.
    
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