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Interplanetary navigation using pulsating radio sourcesRadio beacons with distinguishing signatures exist in nature as pulsating radio sources (pulsars). These objects radiate well determined pulse trains over hundreds of megahertz of bandwidth at radio frequencies. Since they are at known positions, they can also be used as navigation beacons in interplanetary space. Pulsar signals are weak and dispersive when viewed from earth. If an omnidirectional antenna is connected to a wideband receiver (200 MHz bandwidth centered at 200 MHz) in which dispersion effects are removed, nominal spacecraft position errors of 1500 km can be obtained after 24 h of signal integration. An antenna gain of 10 db would produce errors as low as 150 km. Since the spacecraft position is determined from the measurement of the phase of a periodic signal, ambiguities occur in the position measurement. Simultaneous use of current spacecraft navigation schemes eliminates these ambiguities.
Document ID
19740026037
Document Type
Contractor Report (CR)
Authors
Downs, G. S. (Jet Propulsion Lab., California Inst. of Tech. Pasadena, CA, United States)
Date Acquired
September 3, 2013
Publication Date
October 1, 1974
Subject Category
NAVIGATION
Report/Patent Number
JPL-TR-32-1594
NASA-CR-140398
Funding Number(s)
CONTRACT_GRANT: NAS7-100
Distribution Limits
Public
Copyright
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.

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