15 photographs, 13 illustrations, 2 text figures
GPS Declassified examines the development of GPS from its secret, Cold War military roots to its emergence as a worldwide consumer industry. Drawing on previously unexplored documents, Richard D. Easton and Eric F. Frazier examine how military rivalries influenced the creation of GPS and shaped public perceptions about its origin. Since the United States’ first program to launch a satellite in the late 1950s, the nation has pursued dual paths into space—one military and secret, the other scientific and public. Among the many commercial spinoffs this approach has produced, GPS arguably boasts the greatest impact on our daily lives.
Told by a son of a navy insider—whose work helped lay the foundations for the system—and a science and technology journalist, the story chronicles the research and technological advances required for the development of GPS. Easton and Frazier note how the technology moved from the laboratory and the battlefield to the dashboard and the smartphone, and they raise the specter of how this technology and its surrounding industry affect public policy. Insights into how the system works and how it fits into a long history of advances in navigation tie into discussions of the myriad applications for GPS.
Richard D. Easton has published articles about the origin of GPS in various space-related publications. His father, Roger L. Easton, led the Space Applications Branch of the Naval Research Laboratory from the Vanguard satellite era to the early days of GPS development. Eric F. Frazier is a former newspaper reporter who covered governmental affairs for a general audience. His articles about computer security, nanotechnology, and drug marketing research have appeared in a variety of publications.
List of Illustrations
Foreword by Rick W. Sturdevant
List of Abbreviations
1. New Moons Rising: The Satellite Age Arrives
2. Weather Permitting: A Brief History of Navigation
3. Success Has Many Fathers: Early Concepts for Satellite Navigation
4. One System, Two Narratives: Recollections and Documents
5. Invisible Stars: How GPS Works
6. Going Public: The Roots of Civilian GPS Use
7. Going To War: GPS Aids Military Success In the Persian Gulf
8. Going Mainstream: A Consumer Industry Is Born
9. Where Are We? GPS and GNSS Today
10. Going Forward: The Future of GPS