Return to Human Space Flight home page

Guidance, Navigation and Control

Overview
GNC software commands effect vehicle control and provide sensor data needed to compute these commands.

Flight Control System Hardware
Hard-wired to one of eight flight-critical MDMs.

Navigational Aids
Include IMUS, tacan units, air data probe assemblies, and more.

Inertial Measurement Units
Consist of an all-attitude, four-gimbal, inertially stabilized platform.

Star Trackers
Two star tracker units are part of the navigation system.

Crewman Optical Alignment Sight
Used if IMU alignment is in error more than 1.4 degrees.

TACAN
Determine slant range and magnetic bearing to ground station.

Air Data System
Provides information on the movement of the orbiter in the air mass.

Microwave Scan Beam Landing System
Used during landing phase to determine slant range, azimuth and elevation to landing runway.

Radar Altimeter
Measure absolute altitude from the orbiter to nearest terrain within beamwidth of orbiter's antennas.

Accelerometer Assemblies
Sense vehicle acceleration along lateral and vertical axes.

Orbiter Rate Gyro Assemblies
Used by flight control system to sense roll, pitch and yaw rates during ascent and entry.

Solid Rocket Booster Rate Gyro Assemblies
Used as feedback to find rate errors from liftoff to SRB separation.

Rotational Hand Controller
Used by flight crew to gimbal engines and OMS/RCS systems.

Translational Hand Controller
Used for manual control of translation along the longitudinal, lateral, and vertical axes to control RCS.

Control Stick Steering Push Button Light Indicators
Indicate control stick mode.

Rudder Pedals
Command orbiter rotation about the yaw axis by positioning the rudder during atmospheric flight.

Speed Brake/Thrust Controller
Used during ascent to vary thrust level of main engines; used during entry to control aerodynamic drag.

Body Flap Switch
Provide manual control for positioning body flap during entry.

RHC/Panel Enable/Inhibit
Provide signals to GPCs, prohibiting execution of related software commands while RHC is active.

Trim Switches
Used to move the aerosurfaces in roll, pitch and yaw.

Aerosurface Servoamplifiers
Receive commands during atmospheric flight, causing aerosurface deflections.

Digital Autopilot
Composed of several software modules that interpret maneuver commands and generate commands for the appropriate effectors.

Rendezvous Thrusting Maneuvers
OMS/RCS thrusting periods can be used to correct or modify the orbit as required.

Component Locations
Black boxes are situated in several locations around the orbiter.


Curator: Kim Dismukes | Responsible NASA Official: John Ira Petty | Updated: 04/07/2002
Web Accessibility and Policy Notices