History of GPS

Without GPS devices, many things would not be possible today. They have so many areas of application that it is no longer possible to do without them. This includes vehicle navigation, long-distance sports, locating certain people, but also vehicle monitoring and logbook regulation. However, all of these applications have only recently emerged, as the history of GPS began in the military. Private use only became possible after the site was made available to the general public.

The idea of positioning

The idea of the GPS(Global Positioning System), actually called NAVSTAR(Navigation Systemfor Timing and Ranging), originated with the US Department of Defense and included 24 satellites, three of which served as active replacements. These satellites should enable the military to precisely determine their position anywhere in the world. However, the project did not go as smoothly as planned. In the years 1973 to 77, the project was first decided and then tested on the ground. While the first eleven satellites were still being launched into space, funding for the project was cut and the planned 24 satellites were reduced to 18, only to switch back to 24 ten years later. The whole project was repeatedly jeopardized because the financiers did not always immediately see the benefits of the whole thing.

Access for the civilian population

However, although the system had not yet been fully installed, only the military had used it to date. After an incident involving Korean civilian aircraft over Soviet soil, it was decided to make GPS accessible to the civilian population as well. For this purpose, special jamming transmitters were switched off which distorted the signal for all unauthorized persons. Initially, this only happened during the Gulf War because there were too few military receivers available, but the shutdown was completely lifted in 1991. It was not until 2000 that the interference signals were completely deactivated. More and more modern satellites are now being sent into space either to replace defective satellites or to supplement the existing satellites.


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