AutoNav Mark 4 is applicable to any space mission requiring any of the following: -spacecraft positioning absolute and relative (helio, planet, small-body) relative to small bodies and other spacecraft for rendezvous -orbit determination -target tracking of bodies, apertures, spacecraft, ground-based assets -trajectory derivation -low-thrust maneuvering for Solar Electric Propulsion (SEP) -ephemeris calculations All mission perform some or all of the prior activities, frequently using ground-based personnel and processes that are slow and expensive. Commercialized on-board autonomous navigation as provided by AutoNav Mark 4 can be targeted at the whole range of LEO, GEO, and interplanetary missions, large and small. AutoNav Mark 4 for low-thrust missions (including Psyche and Next Mars Orbiter) would allow a dramatic reduction in navigation and trajectory calculation costs by moving the bulk of these activities onboard. Long missions like these would incur even more savings using AN4 than more modest missions. AutoNav Mark 4 is directly applicable to JPL's Deep Space Positioning System. By using a commercialized AutoNav, JPL would avoid most development costs, providing only new algorithms from its Navigation Section to plug into the AutoNav Mark 4 architecture. Human spaceflight could use AutoNav Mark 4 for navigation and trajectory calculation in the event of communications failure, allowing the astronauts to safely reenter and land.
Since AutoNav Mark 4 works with any flight software core, it could be applied to non-NASA spacecraft: DoD, NOAA, and ESA missions are prime candidates. International release of software should be possible under ITAR controls. AutoNav Mark 4 could be directly applied to commercial launch vehicles in order to calculate ascent maneuvers, including for human access to space. Installing AutoNav Mark 4 just on small commercial missions having a CubeSat form factor would allow these missions to proceed at reduced cost, removing much of the need for expensive navigator personnel time. This would free missions from having to implement these capabilities, leading to better reliability of navigation, simpler mission conops, more cross-mission synergy, and lower barriers of entry for less experience providers like universities. Future commercial human spaceflight could utilize AutoNav Mark 4 for on-board spacecraft navigation and trajectory calculation. This would be most useful in the event of a communications failure, allowing the astronauts to autonomously calculate a return trajectory for re-entry and landing without any interactions with ground-based expertise. It would also allow a low earth orbiting mission to track down and rendezvous with other spacecraft or the International Space Station for servicing, cargo transfer, personnel transfer, and the like, without requiring contact with the ground.