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A navigator is a person trained to record and alter a vessel's position relative to grid coordinates using terrestrial or celestial techniques. A Starfleet Navigator usually trains at the rank of Ensign. Upon completing the Starfleet Academy prescribed courses for navigation aboard a Starfleet vessel, a navigator usually is posted as a Lieutenant Junior Grade (LTJG) and advances to the rank of Lieutenant after two years of service as approved by the Captain. Ensign navigators are Ops Officers and part of the Command track to eventually serve as a Captain upon appointment and assumption of a command vessel. [citation needed]

In days of old, a navigator worked from a known position or fix. Using time, heading and speed, the navigator would compute a Dead Reckoning (DR) position that could be used to obtain a fix based upon a Line of Position (LOP). When navigating by land, an LOP can be used from a prominent point as sighted by a sextant. Waypoints, or desired fixes, were used as a point for a computational DR positions along a route on a navigational chart. Where the LOP intersects with the DR becomes the new fix and is entered into the navigator's log as the basis for navigation from this point on. The more LOPs obtained directly determine the fix accuracy. Navigators have served on almost every type of vessel known to the United Federation of Planets. [citation needed]

In modern navigation theory, one LOP and a DR equate to a Most Probable Position (MPP) that can be used as a fix if the navigator deems it the best and most accurate information available. Two or three LOPs are considered more desirable because the intersection of LOPs is the definition of a fix. Three LOPS, whose lines form an equilateral triangle, was considered the best fix as the MPP is within the triangle. The tighter the triangle; the tighter the fix. This is essentially two dimensional navigation. [citation needed]

In the open seas navigators truly mastered their profession and earned their bacon. A navigator would navigate by celestial observations of the sun, moon, stars and planets. The early Egyptians and Phoenicians charted the known Old World. Their charts were highly prized because terrestrial LOPs could be computed using their depictions of land and sea. Two of the more accomplished navigators ever were Magellan and Vasco da Gama. A sailing ship's Captain often was the navigator because they were wizards in determining new routes the undiscovered country or territory. [citation needed]

The HMS Enterprize or Enterprise under the command of Captain J. Paul, circa 1705, is the first sailing ship to bear the name that would become legend in Star Trek. [citation needed]

Eventually their navigational feats around the world inspired a British competition to devise an accurate chronometer or watch that could accurately keep time which is a very important entering argument in celestial navigation. The invention of the atomic clock can be seen as the direct descendant of the chronometer and the requirement for accurate time signals. NON-CANON follows: Atomic clocks in the 21st century eventually gave way to time buoys as developed by Doctor Salvador Pacheco, who won an intergalactic competition to create The Atomic Clock in the Stars Device (ACSD), which enabled starship navigators like Checkov aboard the USS Enterprise to navigate amongst the stars. NON-CANON ends. [citation needed]

Navigation in the air used the same DR procedures and incorporated radar, basic navigation systems (BNS that basically navigated using time, heading and airspeed to compute a DR position using Doppler signals) and Inertial Navigation Systems (INS). LORAN and Omega were early radio based systems that preceded INS. Aerial navigation is three dimensional navigation. [citation needed]

During the 1960s, the United States of America launched the first satellite, Transit, that was used by the US military. During the late 1980s and early 1990s, the United States Air Force (USAF), launched a series of satellites that enable Global Positioning Systems (GPS) to navigate with pinpoint precision from "Point A to Point B". A GPS syncs its time signal with the satellites to determine its position determined by the intersection to of the satellite LOPs. [citation needed]

Sputnik, the first satellite launched by the mid 20th century nation known as Russia, involved complicated three dimensional navigation that is depicted in the opening scenes of Star Trek: Enterprise. [citation needed]

Prior to Zepram Cochrane's launch of the first human warp capable starship, the Vulcans devised a series of star charts that were highly prized for the star trek to other worlds. Starfleet (a direct descendant of the USAF), and the United Federation of Planets would eventually establish a treaty with the Vulcans for usage of their star charts. [citation needed]