News Item

GPS's 40th birthday

This week has seen the 40th anniversary of the first GPS transmission received on Earth.

Well after midnight on 19 July 1977, a Rockwell Collins engineer, David Van Dusseldorp, sat on the rooftop of a building in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, adjusting an antenna every 5 minutes to receive a signal from the world’s first Global Positioning System (GPS) satellite - known as NTS-2. Within a small window of time, the satellite was turned on and the message was successfully received and decoded by the team using the pictured GPS receiver.

To commemorate this 40th anniversary, Rockwell Collins invited retirees involved in the project to share their first-hand stories at an event held in Cedar Rapids.

David Van Dusseldorp comments 'We had leaders and team members working together and I knew we could meet the challenge put before us. The future of GPS was uncertain at the time, but I really felt like we had just accomplished something important.'

Soon after successfully receiving the signal, USAF awarded Rockwell Collins the Navstar GPS user equipment contract - the first of many in the GPS field.

We congratulate the company and the many others that have made the system part of everyday life in the modern world.

The picture depicts the receiver station used by Rockwell Collins in 1977 - about 6 feet high and requiring 2 operators.

Further details from the link below . .

  • 22 July 2017
  • RIN

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