A tool which has helped the sailors to travel miles in the ocean for many years will now be used inside the International Space Station. It is a device which will work as a navigation tool and help to gauge the potential emergencies taking place within the space. It will also be used for guiding future cosmos across the globe. The Sextant Navigation investigation will test hand-held sextant within the ISS.
If we deal further with this device, we will come to know the fact that Sextants are made up of small telescope-like optical sight which will be utilized to take accurate angle measurements. This phenomenon will take place in between pairs of stars from the land or sea and will help in navigating without the help of computer assistance. Sextants are a vital instrument for sailors for navigation during their movement in the oceans. The Gemini mission of NASA has executed the first sextant sighting from within a spacecraft.
Designers have made a sextant into the Apollo vehicles as a part of the navigation back up because the crew lost communications with their spacecraft. Jim Lovell exhibited on Apollo 8 that a sextant is very much capable of bringing back a space vehicle home. Astronauts also conducted additional testing on Skylab. According to the principal investigator, Greg Holt, the basic idea behind this concept is to find out how the equipment could be used on Earth. He further added the fact that the primary challenge aboard a spacecraft is the logistics. This is crucial because a proper sighting is necessary. The designer team is thereby asking the crew members to give new ideas as to how adequate sighting through the window can be made and thus give us the feedback. It is something that the designers won’t be able to find out on the ground.
The investigation will involve testing of specific techniques; it will include focusing on stability to use a sextant for emergency navigation on the space vehicles, for instance, Orion. Holt further said that with the implementation of the correct techniques, crews could efficiently utilize the tool to navigate their way back to their home based on the angles between the moon, the planets and the stars, even if the computers are not working correctly.
Earlier space explorers put in a lot of effort for refining sextants to be very much compact and comparatively easy to use.