Skip to Main Content
If a practical system is to be realized within the predictable future, the design of instrumentation for space navigation is contingent upon the meaningful definition of the mission, proper choice of navigation or guidance concept, optimum integration of the human operator and independence from technological breakthroughs. The mission must be considered and categorized in terms of the characteristics of the observables rather than by any other method of classification. The mission also dictates the choice between implicit or explicit navigation concepts. The capabilities and limitations of the astronaut must be considered in the design of all equipment requiring viewing and manual manipulation, especially for computing purposes. The resulting equipment configuration may be considered in terms of the Â¿spectrum of navigation instrumentationÂ¿, ranging from completely manual to fully automatic operation. Such a design philosophy leads to a maximum probability of mission success despite partial equipment malfunctions. This paper is based in part upon the unclassified aspects of a study on space position fixing under sponsorship of the Air Force Aeronautical Systems Division and in part upon other space navigation programs at the Kollsman Instrument Corporation. The material presented here serves as an introduction to the general topic of instrumentation for space navigation and does not include the detailed exploration of any facet thereof.