Date of Award

Fall 2016

Project Type


Program or Major

Mechanical Engineering

Degree Name

Master of Science

First Advisor

May-Win L. Thein

Second Advisor

Barry Fussell

Third Advisor

Michael Carter


This thesis presents the development and analysis of an experimental platform for celestial navigation using the Directly Computed Nautical Sight Reduction Algorithm. The goal is to obtain an estimate of latitude and longitude using an image of the stars and measurements from an IMU as an input. Analytical simulation results indicate that the presented method is viable for navigation for three different observational formats and a wide range of camera pointing directions. Experimental development is presented including cost function analysis for minimizing the error in the position estimate. The results of the optimization were that an error of 0.0585 degrees, approximately 3 nautical miles, was achieved. The presented device is also compared to other established methods of celestial navigation.