|Inertial Stellar Compass
This artist's concepts shows the various parts of the experimental Inertial Stellar Compass technology designed to help spacecraft of the future navigate more autonomously. › Larger view
A brainchild of the Space Technology 6 project, the Inertial Stellar Compass is a conceptual advanced navigation system designed to allow spacecraft of the future to operate more autonomously. If deployed on a future space mission, the Compass would use a star camera to tell the spacecraft where it is pointing and gyroscopes to monitor the spacecraft's motion.
Space Technology 6 is a project to design technology that would make spacecraft of the future more autonomous. The project's Autonomous Sciencecraft Experiment is currently being tested aboard NASA's Earth Observer 1 spacecraft.