USAFA research: forging new navigation technology

(COLORADO SPRINGS) — Cadets at the Air Force Academy are following their passions and working to build tools to help in real-world situations.

“We have a $40 million research program at the Air Force Academy,” Air Force Academy Associate Dean of Research, Col. Chirs McClernon said. “That 40 million is more than all of the other service academies combined, more than West Point, Annapolis, Coast Guard, Merchant Marine. We do more research here than all of them.”

One research project underway is the creation of an automated sextant tool.

“So this approach was initially brought to us from the Air Mobility Command,” said Air Force Academy Cadet, Mihiri Fernando. “And so they had this need for a device, an emergency device, that basically, if their cargo planes were to lose GPS connection, that they would have a way to still navigate over the ocean, because when you’re over the ocean, there’s no visible landmarks for you to be able to see.”

This team of cadets works in an independent study course meaning they find free time in their schedules to come together to work.

“They’re bringing their experiences and the things they’ve learned in various classes and other research projects,” McClernon said. “They’re combining those together to solve this multidisciplinary problem for a real Air Force customer and I’m very proud of the work that they’re doing.”

The team leader, Fernando, explained her role in overseeing the project and her teammates.

“We kind of have three separate tea