THE NAVIGATION TECHNOLOGY PROGRAM (GPS SYSTEM DESCRIPTION)

R. L. Easton

Peer Reviewed

Abstract: The Navigation Technology Program at the Naval Research Laboratory formally came into being with the merger, directed by the Secretary of Defense in 1973, of the Navy’s TIMATION Program and the Air Force 621B Project. Both these programs had been established in the mid-1960s to investigate the possibility of developing a satellite passive ranging system to meet contemporary military navigation requirements. The Air Force program used an ingenious “inverted range” whereby satellite-type signals were generated by ground stations to provide ranging signals for aircraft positioning, while the Navy actually launched satellites. Both projects made major contributions which were later used in the NAVSTAR Global Positioning System joint program that grew out of the merger. The technology base for the TIMATION system was developed at the Naval Research Laboratory during the 1950’s in the search for a practical method of tracking early satellites. The Minitrack system used RF interferometry to track frequencies transmitted from the satellites. Minitrack was followed by the Naval Space Surveillance System, an interferometer system which detected satellites by means of coplanar transmitters and interferometer receivers. An advanced model measured distance to the reflector by means of a synchronized transmitter and receiver. The synchronization was obtained from the use of cesium standards at receiver and transmitter with a third unit travelling between the two.
Published in: NAVIGATION, Journal of the Institute of Navigation, Volume 25, Number 2
Pages: 107 - 112
Cite this article: Easton, R. L., "THE NAVIGATION TECHNOLOGY PROGRAM (GPS SYSTEM DESCRIPTION)", NAVIGATION, Journal of The Institute of Navigation, Vol. 25, No. 2, Summer 1978, pp. 107-112.
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