Chris Muir's Day By Day

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

US Naval Academy To Teach Celestial Navigation Again

I never knew that they dropped it, myself.

The same techniques guided ancient Polynesians in the open Pacific and led Sir Ernest Shackleton to remote Antarctica, then oriented astronauts when the Apollo 12 was disabled by lightning, the techniques of celestial navigation.

A glimmer of the old lore has returned to the Naval Academy.

Officials reinstated brief lessons in celestial navigation this year, nearly two decades after the full class was determined outdated and cut from the curriculum.

That decision, in the late 1990s, made national news and caused a stir among the old guard of navigators.

Maritime nostalgia, however, isn't behind the return.

Rather, it's the escalating threat of cyber attacks that has led the Navy to dust off its tools to measure the angles of stars.

After all, you can't hack a sextant.


And sextants aren't subject to EMP's or CME's, either. (ElectroMagnetic Pulse attack or Coronal Mass Ejection from the sun).

5 comments:

Rev. Paul said...

I didn't realize they'd stopped teaching it, either.

SENIOR said...

Yep, also the last ship I was on, the quartermaster's didn't do it because they had just merged with signalmen and j think they took it off the rating exams.

ProudHillbilly said...

I thought they were nuts to drop it. GPS is fabulous but very vulnerable to jamming and other bad stuff, not to mention that a computer is involved and we all have had the experience of computers going south on us. LORAN has been discontinued. They need the backup of old school.

ProudHillbilly said...

I thought they were nuts to drop it. GPS is fabulous but very vulnerable to jamming and other bad stuff, not to mention that a computer is involved and we all have had the experience of computers going south on us. LORAN has been discontinued. They need the backup of old school.

Old NFO said...

Yep, I think it was 1998 that they dropped it. Glad it's back, because they're going to need it again!!!