Celestial Navigation

Discussion in 'Off Topic' started by USNA69, Jan 19, 2007.

  1. USNA69

    USNA69 Banned

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    It is my understanding that the Academy is no longer teaching celestial navigation. In view of China's actions this week, perhaps they should dust off those old textbooks and sextants.
     
  2. jamzmom

    jamzmom Founding Member

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    I'd heard they'd cancelled Cel Nav. I find that very odd. Cel Nav & Terrestrial Navigation are kinda important to our kids at KP. Was it lack of funding for that department that made them discontinue that class?

    My kid said that the China incident was talked about a great deal today. First time I've ever heard him say they were discussing world affairs. Musta passed by a tv in an admin office or something. Concerns me about sea year ships. Usually he keeps me in stitches on what his Plebes are doing. Today, he said they were truly motivated & made him proud. I made the mistake of asking why. He said that they'd run out of paper towels and were using their own socks to clean the bathrooms. :rolleyes: The fun never ends...
     
  3. Zaphod

    Zaphod Founding Member

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    I find that singularly difficult to believe. If it is true, then the ******* who made the decision should be busted down to SR and drummed out of the Navy.

    I HATED celestial nav at USNA simply because I never got it. Later, however, when I went to Navigator School, I discovered just how easy it really is once you know what numbers to pull from the tables and books. It is a beautiful science, and shockingly accurate if done with care.

    I can't conceive of HoMoTo, the Happy Japanese Admiral, having been retired!
     
  4. kp2001

    kp2001 USMMA Alumnus

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    Oh good ole Adm Homoto, now that's a saying from the past, I'm impressed Zap..... I had heard this rumor several years ago as well, it was my understanding that they had not canceled the course, but had changed it so that they no longer had to do the calculations long hand and were allowed to use a nav calculator.

    I still have my sextant sitting upstairs, I will hold on to that thing forever.
     
  5. Zaphod

    Zaphod Founding Member

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    Wow! They issued you a sextant? We had to share a few borrowed plastic ones. :frown:

    They should still teach longhand. Nav Computers can break, too. This isn't Star Trek.
     
  6. kp2001

    kp2001 USMMA Alumnus

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    Well at Kings Point since we actually need to learn how to navigate a ship properly :biggrin: ......

    I think my class was the first to be issued, it's not the greatest, but it is a decent metal version. I'm not sure how they do it on real navy ships, but I know as a third mate I was required to do at least one celestial fix a day.

    In reality I think longhand celestial is going the way of the dodo bird. In reality how many ships use it for anything more than amusement? GPS has essentially made it outdated and I never ran into anyone who could actually plot a celestial fix within a reasonable distance of our actual position (this included old timer chief mates and masters). I would like to see it continued to be taught though as it has a long tradition.
     
  7. USNA69

    USNA69 Banned

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    Oops. Didn't check my sources. I had a 2nd class tell me last fall that Navigation is no longer required. I just checked the most recent catalog and Navigation and Piloting is still listed as a 3 sem hr course. It does include celestial nav.
    I just checked my old catalog and we had three required, 3 sem hr Nav and Piloting courses.
    So maybe it is still there, but deemphasized.
    Where I wanted to go with this thread when I started it is that many of our weapons systems, including JDAM, JSSM, and even Tomahawks are GPS dependent. I don't know how well any of them work without satellites.
     
  8. hornetguy

    hornetguy USAFA Cadet

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    It is important, especially with the Chinese showing their anti-satellite capabilities. It's not outside their reach to develop longer range anti-satellite missiles that could hit our GPS sats. Imagine what would happen if we lost those.
     
  9. kp2001

    kp2001 USMMA Alumnus

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    Losing GPS would be a HUGE loss in a war mainly due to the loss of the weapons as mentioned above. It would also hurt the people on the ground, because I'm sure the Army would be lost without theirs as well, just look at Jessica Lynch and that debacle.

    For shipping it would be a pain in the rear, but there are older technologies that work fairly well if GPS was gone. LORAN-C is the first one that comes to mind, as far as I know it is still operational and most maritime charts still have LORAN overlay. There is also Omega and the really old (sorry to date some of the old timers) Radio Direction Finder.

    I wonder if the chinese are thinking "well we can't get to their level, so let's bring them to the lowest common denominator." Kind of like a bad sports team fouling their way through a game to bring the better team to their level. I know they are fairly well developed though, so I think this thinking is suspect on my part.
     
  10. Zaphod

    Zaphod Founding Member

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    Well, we'd certainly have to brush off the old inertial and TERCOM technologies if GPS went down.
     

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