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In Endgame we are shown that the Time Travelers leave from a transmitting / receiving unit. But this seems optional.

When Tony and Steve are in 2012, they leave from there to get to 1970 - no transmitter or receiver in this jump. However, 2014-Thanos needs 2014-Nebula to rig the device to ensure his arrival in 2023.

My question is - what role does the transmitter / receiver play in the time travel, when is it needed and when not?

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    My guess is that when going to the future you need a receiver, and when going to past it is not needed, but it's only a guess... – Gustavo Gabriel May 6 at 13:23
  • Good catch [+1] – RC0993 May 6 at 13:27
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The GPS's connect them to the Quantum Bridge.

They allowed them to travel through it remotely and safely.

Stark solves this with a "time-space GPS," a way for the team to travel through the quantum bridge without getting lost in it. None of any current science suggests that this is possible, writes Shankland. But then he leaves the door open a tiiiiiiiny bit, giving us hope that maybe that ugly brown van's quantum bridge was actually a wormhole (!!!).


Avengers: Endgame and time travel: Why it all makes perfect sense - CNET

So, the reason Nebula needed to help Thanos through was that he didn't have a GPS.

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    Remember, our GPS only works because we know the exact time and position of satellites orbiting the Earth. The "time-space GPS" also works because there is a KNOWN exact time/space transmitter. – Jim Green May 6 at 15:00
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    He may have had a GPS. They captured one from Nebula'23, along with Pym particles. The Russos say that Thanos and Ebony Maw were perfectly smart enough to reverse engineer and copy the tech, and create more Pym particles and a time-GPS for the ship. Remember Nebula did come back, and had to use the time-GPS and Pym particles to do it, so Thanos and his ship could only come through if they had made more. – Harper May 6 at 19:07
  • Here's my issue with this. The GPS helps with navigation when in the quantum realm. When they are in New York in 2012, they have exited the quantum realm at the right time thanks to the GPS. When Tony and Steve decide to go from there to 1970, what sends them back into the quantum realm? GPS is only good when they are navigating inside the quantum realm. – MovieMe May 7 at 8:31
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    The suits themselves(containing Pym particles) are what shrinks a person/ship down to the quantum state. Once in the quantum state, they use the signal from the Bridge/Transmitter to navigate to where they want to go. Thanos needed Nebula to turn the Transmitter back on, so he could navigate to the 'present'. – Jim Green May 7 at 11:50
  • hmm .. so it's a timeline-space stationary satellite enables the GPS device to help the quantum traveler to navigate space time. Which also would mean that the person coming back to 2023, doesn't necessarily have to return to the exact spacial coordinates they left from. They can use their own judgement to navigate to a slightly different location, say like a bench, for instance? – MovieMe May 7 at 12:36
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As I recall, 2023-Tony and 2023-Steve (in 2012), went to 1970 without the transmitter / receiver, is not the only jump which happened without the "time machine (transmitter /receiver)". Obviously 2023-Steve had to jump several times in the end to put the stones back from where they came. and the time machine was just to send and receive (expected) him from and to 2023.

As I see the Time GPS (made by Tony) is required to set the jump TO the set time (and probably set location) and the pym particles are meant to shrink down to get to the quantum realm for the jump.

I don't see the role of the Time machine in particular, and I couldn't find a relative information. I feel that creators have overlooked the use of machine while delivering a great script.

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