The Global Positioning System (GPS)

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The Global Positioning System, more commonly called the GPS is a satellite based system that provides navigation for almost everything from cell phones to automobiles. This wonderful technology is very vital in today’s economy because of its prominence in banking, financial markets, power grids, farming, construction and so much more. It also protects human life by preventing accidents, helping in search and rescue missions and is critical to nearly every facet of military operations. There are three segments that make up the global positioning system: the space segment, the control segment and the user segment. The segment we are familiar with is the user segment. The user segment is what receives GPS signals, determines the distance between a satellite and a receiver and solves the navigation equations, all in order to obtain the coordinates of a specific place. The space segment consists of 31 satellites but there is an availability of at least 24 satellites that are approximately 6 000-12 000 miles above the earth.

These satellites are arranged in this way because it ensures that at least four satellites are in view from literally any point on earth. This ensures the accurate and efficient operation of the global positioning system. The last but arguably the most important segment of the GPS is the control segment. The control segment is a global network of facilities that track the satellites in space and ensure they are functioning properly. This includes monitoring their transmissions, performing analyses on them and sending commands and data to them. There are three parts to the control segment; the master control station, monitor stations and ground antennas. The master control station is responsib...

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