How does a spacecraft get to where its going?
AutoNav is an experimental system being tested on DS1. AutoNav stands for Autonomous Navigation. The idea behind AutoNav is that a spaceship using AutoNav will be able to determine its position in space, check to see if that is right, and then correct it if it is not. By photographing asteroids against the background of fixed stars, the spacecraft uses a process called triangulation to calculate exactly where it is. AutoNav can then figure out what the spacecraft must do to get from there to its destination and will instruct the craft to use its propulsion system to make any course changes that are required.
Other spacecraft use the Deep Space Network (DSN) to navigate. DSN uses sophisticated techniques to measure the position and speed of spacecraft. AutoNav will help free up the DSN so that it can devote more of its time to receiving data the spacecraft have collected in their journeys and less time simply helping them to navigate.
What is a course correction?
How do we know a spacecraft's location?
What is triangulation?
Why does DS1 get off course?
What is DSN?
What is autonomy technology?
How does DS1 take pictures?
How does DS1 travel through space?
How does DS1 do a course correction?
How do AutoNav and the remote agent work together?