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Oct 14 2015

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Everything old is new again

Seeing stars, again: Naval Academy reinstates celestial navigation. I loved Celestial Nav when I was at USNA, and had no idea they’d stopped teaching it. Does that mean that for a while they didn’t shoot stars on US Navy ships, or that Quartermasters shot stars while their Navigators twiddled their thumbs?

Reading the article further…yes, for the past 10 years nobody shot stars on US Navy ships because of the reliability of GPS. Not even Quartermasters were taught it in “A” school. Egads! I either knew this and forgot it, or missed it altogether.

I get how easy and reliable GPS is — heck, even when I was in the Navy as Ship’s Navigator aboard USS Gunston Hall back in the early ’90s, GPS was quickly becoming the primary means of navigating. Interesting that the Navy abandoned Celestial Nav about the same time Loran “C” was being discontinued…meaning no backup to GPS once out of site of land (or land out of range of radar).

Anyways, glad to see it coming back. The article lists cyber attacks on GPS as the primary threat, but don’t forget EMP (or CME), or anti-sat warfare as threats as well.

For the record, here is my sextant. It’s definitely not high-end, but it works:

and I don’t even own a boat!!

Permanent link to this article: http://www.newspaceraces.com/2015/10/14/everything-old-is-new-again/

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