The global positioning system
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© 2012, Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg. The Global Positioning System (GPS) is the oldest and most widely used GNSS system, and as such will be extensively discussed in the first part of this book. The development of GPS satellites dates from the 1960s. By 1973, the US military had embarked on a program that would culminate into the NAVSTAR GPS which became fully operational in 1995. The overall aim was to develop a tool that could be used to locate points on the Earth without using terrestrial targets, some of which could have been based in domains hostile to the US. GPS satellites were therefore primarily designed for the use of the US military operating anywhere in the world, with the aim of providing passive real-time three-dimensional (3D) positioning, navigation, and velocity data. The civilian applications and time transfer, though the predominant use of GPS, is in fact, a secondary role.