Guidance System, Stellar-Inertial, XN-2


Display Status:

This object is not on display at the National Air and Space Museum. It is either on loan or in storage.

Collection Item Summary:

The XN-2 was one of the first operational stellar-inertial systems that successfully assisted in navigating an aircraft. It combined the inertial systems of the Autonetics XN-1 (see 1963-0369, NASM 1382), with a device that acquired one or more stars during flight. The combination gave a system that could continue to operate during low-altitude or other phases of a flight, when the stars were obscured by clouds or the sun, but with much greater accuracy than all-inertial systems, since the stellar fix could correct for the inevitable drift that occurred in the inertial system's gyros. The XN-2 was built by an operation of North American Aircraft (established as the Autonetics Division in 1955), and installed on a YC-97 airplane. On April 10, 1952 it successfully assisted with the navigation of a flight.

Collection Item Long Description:

Data Source

National Air and Space Museum

Restrictions & Rights

Do not reproduce without permission from the Smithsonian Institution, National Air and Space Museum

Credit Line

Transferred from the United States Air Force.


  • HAZMAT: Cadmium Plating, Magnesium
  • Aluminum, Steel, Stainless Steel, Paint, Acrylic (Plexiglas), Epoxy, Nylon, Plastic, Wood, Glass, Paper, Rubber (Silicone), Synthetic Fabric


  • 3-D: 109.2 × 96.5cm (43 × 38 in.)
  • Storage (Aluminum pallet and frame with fabric dust cover): 121.9 × 121.9 × 152.4cm, 318.4kg (48 × 48 × 60 in., 702lb.)

Country of Origin

United States of America



Inventory Number


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