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Global Positioning System (gps) Research Paper

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Dec 29, 2004

Global Positioning System (GPS) Research Paper



I. What is GPS? A. History B. Development

II. How Does GPS Work? A. Satellites and Receivers B. The Three Parts of GPS

III. Applications of GPS A. Military B. Civilian


The Global Positioning System With the proliferation of satellite-based defense systems and their continuing presence in the media it makes us more aware of our national defense. The United States is large, economically strong and a sometimes tumultuous presence in the global community. Although we may feel secure because of our superior technology and defense capabilities, our size and position in world affairs can make us a target for some countries. We can no longer be concerned with just our borders and now what comes from the skies and the sea is more of a threat than ever before. The United States government had to develop a way to counter these possible attacks and the Global Positioning System (GPS) was conceived. The Global Positioning System was initiated in 1973 by the Department of Defense (DOD). It was developed by the the DOD because at a cost of over twelve billion dollars the government had the monetary resources to achieve these idealistic goals. Since that time it has grown from one satellite used strictly by the military to twenty-six satellites that can be used by civilians also. This satellite system is used to determine the speed and position of an object anywhere in the world within one hundred meters to mere millimeters depending on the size and quality of user equipment.(GPS JOINT PROGRAM OFFICE. ICD-GPS-200:GPS INTERFACE CONTROL DOCUMENT.) The original purpose of GPS was to maintain a strategic military advantage over our enemies. Toward the end of the arms race the targeting of ballistic missiles became so exact they could land directly on an enemy missile silo and destroy any missiles inside of it. The ability to take out your enemies missiles from great distances had a major effect on the balance of power. To maintain the balance of power the United States government had to develop a way to locate surfacing submarines in a matter of minutes anywhere in the world. With the use of satellites in orbit the Global Positioning System was created. GPS uses twenty-six satellites and ground tracking stations around the world to compute distances using time. This is done by finding the difference between the time a signal is sent and the time it is received. The satellites have atomic clocks so the time is extremely accurate. The receivers position is determined by using three satellites, this is called triangulation.(kAPLAN,eLLIOTT. UNDERSTANDING GPS:PRINCPLES AND APPLICATIONS) GPS is made up of three segments: space, control and user. The space segment includes the satellites and the rockets that launch them from Cape Canaveral. The satellites are powered by solar cells and continuously point their solar panels toward the sun and their antennae toward earth. The control



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