NASA to Demonstrate X-ray Navigation in Space

Sunday, January 14, 2018 - 12:32

A team of NASA engineers has demonstrated fully autonomous X-ray navigation in space which could revolutionize NASA’s ability in the future to pilot robotic spacecraft to the far reaches of the solar system and beyond.

NASA reports that the demonstration, which the team carried out with an experiment called Station Explorer for X-ray Timing and Navigation Technology, or SEXTANT, showed that millisecond pulsars could be used to accurately determine the location of an object moving at thousands of miles per hour in space, similar to how the Global Positioning System, widely known as GPS, provides positioning, navigation, and timing services to users on Earth with its constellation of 24 operating satellites.

“This demonstration is a breakthrough for future deep space exploration,” said SEXTANT Project Manager Jason Mitchell, an aerospace technologist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. “As the first to demonstrate X-ray navigation fully autonomously and in real-time in space, we are now leading the way.”

This technology provides a new option for deep space navigation that could work in concert with existing spacecraft-based radio and optical systems.

Although it could take a few years to mature an X-ray navigation system practical for use on deep-space spacecraft, the fact that NASA engineers proved it could be done bodes well for future interplanetary space travel. Such a system provides a new option for spacecraft to autonomously determine their locations outside the currently used Earth-based global navigation networks because pulsars are accessible in virtually every conceivable fight regime, from low-Earth to deepest space.

Related News

SPACEX Successfully Launched Falcon Heavy Rocket Into Space

1396/11/18 15:34

NASA’s Gold Instrument Powers On For the First Time

1396/11/10 10:36

NASA Tests Its 430,000mph Probe that Will 'Touch the Sun'

1396/11/4 12:09

Ozone Layer Closing Up Because Humans Did Something about It

1396/10/18 16:40

NASA Astronaut Made First Untethered Space Flight, Dies at 80

1396/10/3 12:06

NASA to Announce Big Alien-Planet News

1396/9/19 15:27

December’s 'Full Cold Moon'

1396/9/8 16:48

JPSS-1, the Next-Generation of Weather Satellite

1396/8/29 09:51

Researchers Studying Quakes in Space

1396/8/24 12:26

NASA Releases Hubble’s Messier Catalog / In Photos

1396/8/1 08:33

NASA’s Cassini Probe End Its 20-Year Journey

1396/6/26 14:34

A Record-Shattering NASA Astronaut Returned to Earth

1396/6/13 13:55

Indian Teen Designs the World’s Lightest Satellite

1396/2/30 10:22

Living 60,000 Year Old Microorganism Found Trapped Inside Crystals

1395/12/7 19:16

Images of Carbon Dioxide Emission Released by NASA

1395/8/30 18:23

NASA Receives Latest Data on Pluto

1395/8/9 11:59

Earth, a Desert Compared to the Rest of the Solar System

1395/7/22 03:13

Earth's CO2 Permanently Crosses 400ppm Threshold

1395/7/13 00:36

Mars Reaches its Closest Approach to Earth for 11 Years

1395/3/10 14:55

NASA Records Magnetic Explosions above Earth

1395/3/9 00:17

Earth Day 2016 with NASA’s Most Amazing Photos of Our Planet

1395/2/5 18:24

April 17, 2016: Asperatus Clouds over New Zealand

1395/1/29 20:16

NASA Releases New Information about Dwarf Planet Ceres

1395/1/8 20:25

Opinions


Popular News

Latest News