From An Introduction to the Mathematics and Methods of Astrodynamics, Revised Edition

Originally published as " Space Guidance Evolution A Personal Narrative" by the present author in the Journal of Guidance, Control, and Dynamics for March-April, 1982. It was invited as a History of Key Technologies paper as part of the AIAA's Fiftieth Anniversary celebration.

The prospect of preparing a comprehensive history of space guidance and navigation was, initially, a delight to contemplate. But, as the unproductive weeks went by, the original euphoria was gradually replaced by a sense of pragmatism. I reasoned that the historical papers which had the greatest appeal were written by "old timers" telling of their personal experiences. Since I had lived through the entire space age, and had the good fortune of being involved in many of the nation's important aerospace programs, I decided to narrow the scope to encompass only that of which I had personal knowledge. (It is, however, a sobering thought that you might qualify as an "old timer.")

The story begins in the early 1950's when the MIT Instrumentation Laboratory (later to become The Charles Stark Draper Laboratory, Inc.) was chosen by the Air Force Western Development Division to provide a self-contained guidance system backup to Convair in San Diego for the new Atlas intercontinental ballistic missile. The work was contracted through the Ramo-Wooldridge Corporation, and the technical monitor for the MIT task was a young engineer named Jim Fletcher who later served as the NASA Administrator.

The Atlas guidance system was to be a combination of an onboard autonomous...

Copyright American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Inc. 1999 under license agreement with Books24x7

Products & Services
Flow Switches
Flow switches are devices that monitor flow and send a trip signal to other devices, like a pump, for protection. These switches can be used for the measurement of gases, liquids, and steam.
Core Modules
Core modules are computer boards or integrated circuits that are populated with electronic components and used in embedded applications. Core modules are mounted on user-designed motherboards and other systems for quick integration in custom designs.
Laser Processing Equipment
Laser processing equipment uses high-powered lasers to cut, trim, perforate, weld, or join a variety of materials in plate or sheet form.
Scales and Balances
Scales and balances are used to measure static or dynamic loads for a wide range of industrial applications.
Imaging Workstations
Imaging workstations are vision systems used for metrology or image analysis in laboratory and cleanroom settings.

Topics of Interest

Chapter List Chapter 1: Hypergeometric Functions and Elliptic Integrals Chapter 2: Some Basic Topics in Analytical Dynamics Chapter 3: The Problem of Two Bodies Chapter 4: Two-Body Orbits and the...

Today, OEMs are busy designing embedded computer board�based devices for a variety of medical applications: medical modality instruments, clinical diagnostic instruments, surgical imaging...

Today, OEMs are busy designing embedded computer board–based devices for a variety of medical applications: medical modality instruments, clinical diagnostic instruments, surgical imaging...

9.2 INERTIAL SYSTEMS TECHNOLOGIES 9.2.1 Early Requirements The development of inertial navigation in the United States started around 1950, during the Cold War with the Soviet Union. Cold War weapons...

Paul Zarchan MIT Lincoln Laboratory Lexington Massachusetts Howard Musoff Charles Stark Draper Laboratory, Inc. Cambridge Massachusetts Volume 208 PROGRESS IN ASTRONAUTICS AND AERONAUTICS Paul...