• Smithsonian Time and Navigation Exhibit Opens Friday



    A major exhibition opening April 12, “Time
    and Navigation: the untold story of getting from here to there
    ,”
    explores how revolutions in timekeeping over three centuries have influenced
    how people find their way. This project is a unique collaboration between
    two of the Smithsonian’s largest and most popular museums: the National Air
    and Space Museum and the National Museum of American History.

    “Time and Navigation is an ambitious exhibit because it traces the
    development of very complicated technologies and makes us think about a
    subject we now take for granted,” said Gen. J.R. “Jack” Dailey, director of
    the museum. “Today, the technology needed to accurately navigate is
    integrated into mobile computers and phones: hundreds of years of
    technological heritage tell your handheld device where you are in a seamless
    manner. This opens up new possibilities and challenging questions for the
    next generation of scientists and explorers who visit this exhibit to start
    thinking about.”

    Don Jewell discussed the exhibit in depth in his March
    Defense PNT column
    .

    The gallery is organized into five sections and spans three centuries of
    efforts to travel on Earth and through the solar system. In each section the
    visitor will learn about pioneer navigators facing myriad issues, but one
    challenge always stands out: the need to know accurate time.


    Sections


    This timekeeper was the first American-made marine timekeeper taken to sea. William Cranch Bond, a 23-year-old Boston clockmaker, crafted it during the War of 1812.

    This timekeeper was the first American-made marine timekeeper taken to
    sea. William Cranch Bond, a 23-year-old Boston clockmaker, crafted it
    during the War of 1812.


    Navigating at Sea
     is an
    immersive environment that suggests a walk through a 19th-century sailing
    vessel. Visitors will learn how centuries ago navigators at sea relied on
    chronometers and measurements of celestial objects to determine location.
    This section includes a mariner’s astrolabe, dating from 1602; a Ramsden
    sextant and dividing engine; several chronometers; a model of Galileo’s
    pendulum clock; and the earliest sea-going marine chronometer made in the
    United States, produced by Bostonian William Cranch Bond during the War of
    1812. It also features an interactive display that allows visitors to use a
    sextant to navigate with the stars.


    Navigating in the Air
     relates
    how air navigators struggled with greater speeds, worse weather and more
    cramped conditions than their sea-going predecessors. It tells the story of
    the innovations that overcame these challenges, as represented the gallery’s
    largest artifact, the Lockheed Vega “Winnie Mae,” flown by Wiley Post and
    Harold Gatty, shattering the around-the-world record in 1931. Visitors will
    learn that Charles Lindbergh required navigational tutoring after he flew to
    Paris and how he paved the way for a new system of navigation in the
    process. A personal account by a WWII navigator highlights wartime
    innovations. This section ends with an explanation of how clocks with tiny
    quartz crystals opened an entirely new era of navigation in the form of
    LORAN (LOng RAnge Navigation).


    Wiley Post’s Winnie Mae circled the globe two times, shattering previous records. The first time was in 1931 with Weems associate Harold Gatty as lead navigator. The second was a solo flight in 1933 assisted by “Mechanical Mike,” one of the world’s first practical autopilots.

    Wiley Post’s Winnie Mae circled the globe two times, shattering previous
    records. The first time was in 1931 with Weems associate Harold Gatty as
    lead navigator. The second was a solo flight in 1933 assisted by
    “Mechanical Mike,” one of the world’s first practical autopilots.


    Navigating in Space
     traces
    how teams of talented engineers invented the new science of space navigation
    using star sightings, precise timing and radio communications. This section
    includes an Apollo sextant, a space shuttle star tracker, timing equipment
    used at a ground tracking station and a flight spare (duplicate spacecraft)
    of Mariner 10, the first spacecraft to reach Mercury.


    Inventing Satellite Navigation 
    describes
    how traveling in space inspired plans to navigate from space. Innovators
    found that time from precise clocks on satellites, transmitted by radio
    signals, could be used to determine location. The U.S. military combined
    several breakthroughs to create the Global Positioning System. Some of the
    artifacts in this section are the NIST-7 atomic clock that served as the
    U.S. time standard in the 1990s, the navigation system from the nuclear
    submarine U.S.S. Alabama,
    a satellite from the Transit system used for global navigation before GPS
    and a test satellite global navigation built at the Naval Research
    Laboratory.


    An official DARPA photograph of Stanley at the 2005 DARPA Grand Challenge. Stanley, created by the Stanford University Racing Team, won the race.

    An official DARPA photograph of Stanley at the 2005 DARPA Grand
    Challenge. Stanley, created by the Stanford University Racing Team, won
    the race.


    Navigation for Everyone
     tells
    the stories of real people — a fireman, a farmer and a student — who use
    modern navigation technology in their everyday lives. It also addresses what
    might come next: the story is not over yet and many new technologies are
    being developed. This section includes a disassembled mobile phone with a
    diagram showing all its parts and depicts how hundreds of years of
    navigation technology are now in the palm of a user’s hand. It also features
    “Stanley,” the robot car that won the 2005 Grand Challenge, a robot race
    sponsored by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.

    The exhibition is made possible through the support of Northrop Grumman
    Corporation; Exelis Inc.; Honeywell; National Geospatial-Intelligence
    Agency; U.S. Department of Transportation; Magellan GPS; National
    Coordination Office for Space-Based Positioning, Navigation and Timing;
    Rockwell Collins; and the Institute of Navigation.

    The National
    Air and Space Museum
     building
    on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., is located at Sixth Street and
    Independence Avenue S.W. The museum’s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center is located
    in Chantilly, Va., near Washington Dulles International Airport. The National
    Museum of American History
    collects, preserves and displays American
    heritage in the areas of social, political, cultural, scientific and
    military history.



    source:www.gpsworld.com

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