SpaceIL's Navigation System
Have you ever thought how do you navigate in space without a GPS?
As opposed to the navigation techniques used on earth, there is no GPS in space. Therefore, our engineers at the SpaceIL team had to find and create special navigation systems and orbit correction solutions in order to maintain the spacecraft's flight path.
The following are unique technological developments and navigation systems that will be integrated into the spacecraft:
Earth Moon Sensor: A unique development of an optical sensor with a camera and photo processor that will take pictures of both Earth and the moon so that the spacecraft can position itself in relation to both. The sensor will identify round objects and, according to their color, discern whether the photographed object is Earth or the moon. The sensor marks the photographed object's center and thereby helps position the spacecraft.
OpNav: A new optical navigation system: the spacecraft photographs the moon from its location in space and the picture is sent from the spacecraft back to the communication station on earth. At the communication station the moon's location in relation to the spacecraft is analyzed by comparing photography angles of the pictures it provided with existing maps.
Another navigation technology that the spacecraft will contain a “Star Tracker”, a camera connected with a processor and memory chip that contains a map of the stars in space. By comparing the picture it takes with the picture in the memory chip, the tracker can identify the spacecraft's location.
The combination of all the aforesaid measures should provide the optimal solution to the navigation challenge in space.
Wish us luck!