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Getting stuck in the middle of nowhere or getting confused in the middle of a crowded city is no longer the nightmare that it used to be. You do not have to swallow your pride and resort on others for directions anymore.
All you have to do is whip out your phone and make use of the GPS (Geo Positioning System) to find out exactly where you are right now and what you have to do in order to get to where you want to go. If you wish to learn more facts about the GPS system, please read on.
1) There are 24 satellites which are positioned in six earth-centered orbital planes, there are also four operation satellites and a spare slot available in each orbit. Each GPS satellite orbits the earth every 12 hours.
2) The idea for GPS was based on the operations of LORAN and Decca Navigation System, this was first used for helping with the navigation of ships and planes at a long range during World War II.
3) The Soviet Union launched Sputnik in 1957, a couple of American physicists began to keep a tab on the satellite’s transmissions and soon came to realize that they were able to identify the satellite in its orbit using Doppler Effect. This is one of the key principles on which the GPS system is based on.
4) The US military’s need for a global navigation system during the cold war was a catalyst for the GPS being developed.
5) The navigation system of the Navy was used widely before GPS came into existence. The high-speed air force operations demanded a faster navigation system and this is what forced people to consider if navigation through satellites as possible.
6) Initially, GPS was called Navstar. Nine of the ten satellites that were launched in 1978 managed to make it into orbit. The first fully developed GPS satellite was launched in 1989.
7) GPS was made open to the public following the wake of a disaster. In 1983, Korean Airlines Flight 007 was shot down by Soviet Union resulting in the death of 269 passengers who were on board. This incident was what made President Ronald Reagan make the United States military satellite navigation system DNSS public. This is the system that later became GPS.
8) Despite being made public, the high-quality GPS signals were reserved for military use alone until recently. On, May 1, 2000, this practice was brought to an end. The GPS that is available for civilian purposes is much more accurate nowadays.
9) Automobiles started becoming equipped with GPS starting from 1996.
10) GPS can be used to do more than just navigate. All GPS satellites are equipped with atomic clocks and time signals from these satellites can provide a device with the accurate time.