Invention and development of GPS dates back to late 1950s, and the launch of Sputnik satellite. Which, caused USA take respond in order to improve their technology. GPS satellite system wasn't open to civilian use up until 1972. Thanks to the developers of 612B and the scientists opened to the public use, GPS users can locate their vehicle anywhere on the planet within 10 feet of its location.

Under the direction of Dr Richard Kirschner, the John Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory created the Transit. Transit was built in the late 1950s and it was deployed to the orbit in the 1960s. Transit was the first operational satellite navigation system which included seven polar orbiting satellites. A satellite broadcasted radio signals to the ground stations, which was used to track the location of the satellite. Transit users determined their position on earth by measuring the Doppler shift signals transmitted by the satellites

In the 1960s Dr Ivan Getting, president of the Aerospace Corporation, saw the need for a new satellite-based navigation system. He pictured a global positioning system that would always be available anywhere on the planet. Getting’s foresight was the reason for gaining Air Force support to form a new satellite navigation program named 621B which later became the GPS. Aerospace began working on Project 621B in the 1960s and successfully launched the first GPS satellites, tested the user equipment, and verified its accuracy under the direction of Bradford W. Parkinson.

Brad Parkinson (center), Frank Butterfield of The Aerospace Corporation and Cdr. Bill Huston of the U.S. Navy discussing GPS in the early 1970s.

In 1972 the first GPS receiver prototype tests took place in White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico. Back then its uses were solely military, guiding planes and bombs to their targets. It wasn’t until 1983 when a Korean airliner was shot down because it strayed into the soviet territory, that the system was opened for public use. In 1998 Al Gore increased the budget of the project to make it public and more civilian-friendly, since then the use of GPS receivers has rocketed and it has been used in vehicles and a variety of technological devices. Today, a vehicle tracker can be used for locating your vehicle anywhere on the planet.

White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico, in 1972 Aerospace Corporation engineer Al Gallegly (left) and Grumman engineer M. Moore testing a transmitter for the 621B system.

In addition this stunning technology has truly revolutionised the way the world functions in the 21st century. In 4 may 1993, Aerospace shared the nation’s most prestigious aeronautical award, the “Collier Trophy” as a member of the GPS team. Dr Ivan Getting’s efforts were awarded in 2002. He shared the “Charles Stark Draper Prize of the National Academy of Engineering” with Bradford Parkinson. Thanks to the vision and extraordinary works of this men, more than 3 billion GPS receivers and vehicle trackers are being used in vehicles by individuals and corporations in 2017.

A new generation of satellites such as Galelio and Beidou are being launched to orbit, that promise a great increase to not just the accuracy, but also the availability of GPS as well. Designated as GPS III, a group of 30 new satellites will replace the currently ageing satellites that have been placed in the orbit in the past 40 years. The highest power and accuracy of GPS Signals means less interference and jamming, and increased accuracy for civilian use of GPS. There are now 3 global satellite systems available for civil use; Galileo in Europe, Globalnaya Navigatsionnaya Sputnikovaya (GNSS) in Russia, and the Global Navigation Satellite systems. NASA is developing specialised GPS receivers for space applications, many of which are already in use.


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