Friday, 19 April 2013

user segment

             The user segment is composed of hundreds of thousands of U.S. and allied military users of the secure GPS Precise Positioning Service, and tens of millions of civil, commercial and scientific users of the Standard Positioning Service. In general, GPS receivers are composed of an antenna, tuned to the frequencies transmitted by the satellites, receiver-processors, and a highly stable clock (often a crystal oscillator). They may also include a display for providing location and speed information to the user. A receiver is often described by its number of channels: this signifies how many satellites it can monitor simultaneously. Originally limited to four or five, this has progressively increased over the years so that, as of 2007, receivers typically have between 12 and 20 channels.
    GPS receivers may include an input for differential corrections, using the RTCM SC-104 format. This is typically in the form of an RS-232 port at 4,800 bit/s speed. Data is actually sent at a much lower rate, which limits the accuracy of the signal sent using RTCM. Receivers with internal DGPS receivers can outperform those using external RTCM data. As of 2006, even low-cost units commonly include Wide Area Augmentation System (WAAS) receivers.
    Many GPS receivers can relay position data to a PC or other device using the NMEA 0183 protocol. Although this protocol is officially defined by the National Marine Electronics Association (NMEA) references to this protocol have been compiled from public records, allowing open source tools like gpsd to read the protocol without violating intellectual property laws.[clarification needed] Other proprietary protocols exist as well, such as the SiRF and MTK protocols. Receivers can interface with other devices using methods including a serial connection, USB, or Bluetooth.

control segment

      * The control segment is composed of
  1. a master control station (MCS),
  2. an alternate master control station,
  3. four dedicated ground antennas and
  4. six dedicated monitor stations
The MCS can also access U.S. Air Force Satellite Control Network (AFSCN) ground antennas (for additional command and control capability) and NGA (National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency) monitor stations. The flight paths of the satellites are tracked by dedicated U.S. Air Force monitoring stations in Hawaii, Kwajalein, Ascension Island, Diego Garcia, Colorado Springs, Colorado and Cape Canaveral, along with shared NGA monitor stations operated in England, Argentina, Ecuador, Bahrain, Australia and Washington DC. The tracking information is sent to the Air Force Space Command MCS at Schriever Air Force Base 25 km (16 mi) ESE of Colorado Springs, which is operated by the 2nd Space Operations Squadron(2 SOPS) of the U.S. Air Force. Then 2 SOPS contacts each GPS satellite regularly with a navigational update using dedicated or shared (AFSCN) ground antennas (GPS dedicated ground antennas are located at Kwajalein, Ascension Island, Diego Garcia, and Cape Canaveral). These updates synchronize the atomic clocks on board the satellites to within a few nanoseconds of each other, and adjust the ephemeris of each satellite's internal orbital model. The updates are created by a Kalman filter that uses inputs from the ground monitoring stations, space weather information, and various other inputs.
Satellite maneuvers are not precise by GPS standards. So to change the orbit of a satellite, the satellite must be marked unhealthy, so receivers will not use it in their calculation. Then the maneuver can be carried out, and the resulting orbit tracked from the ground. Then the new ephemeris is uploaded and the satellite marked healthy again.

space segment

         The space segment (SS) is composed of the orbiting GPS satellites, or Space Vehicles (SV) in GPS parlance. The GPS design originally called for 24 SVs, eight each in three approximately circular orbits, but this was modified to six orbital planes with four satellites each. The orbits are centered on the Earth, not rotating with the Earth, but instead fixed with respect to the distant stars. The six orbit planes have approximately 55°inclination (tilt relative to Earth's equator) and are separated by 60° right ascension of the ascending node (angle along the equator from a reference point to the orbit's intersection). The orbital period is one-half a sidereal day, i.e., 11 hours and 58 minutes. The orbits are arranged so that at least six satellites are always within line of sight from almost everywhere on Earth's surface. The result of this objective is that the four satellites are not evenly spaced (90 degrees) apart within each orbit. In general terms, the angular difference between satellites in each orbit is 30, 105, 120, and 105 degrees apart which sum to 360 degrees.
Orbiting at an altitude of approximately 20,200 km (12,600 mi); orbital radius of approximately 26,600 km (16,500 mi), each SV makes two complete orbits each sidereal day, repeating the same ground track each day. This was very helpful during development because even with only four satellites, correct alignment means all four are visible from one spot for a few hours each day. For military operations, the ground track repeat can be used to ensure good coverage in combat zones.


       The current GPS consists of three major segments. These are the space segment (SS), a control segment (CS), and a user segment (US). The U.S. Air Force develops, maintains, and operates the space and control segments. GPS satellites broadcast signals from space, and each GPS receiver uses these signals to calculate its three-dimensional location (latitude, longitude, and altitude) and the current time.
The space segment is composed of 24 to 32 satellites in medium Earth orbit and also includes the payload adapters to the boosters required to launch them into orbit. The control segment is composed of a master control station, an alternate master control station, and a host of dedicated and shared ground antennas and monitor stations. The user segment is composed of hundreds of thousands of U.S. and allied military users of the secure GPS Precise Positioning Service, and tens of millions of civil, commercial, and scientific users of the Standard Positioning Service.

basic concept of gps

       A GPS receiver calculates its position by precisely timing the signals sent by GPS satellites high above the Earth. Each satellite continually transmits messages that include
  • the time the message was transmitted
  • satellite position at time of message transmission
The receiver uses the messages it receives to determine the transit time of each message and computes the distance to each satellite using the speed of light. Each of these distances and satellites' locations define a sphere. The receiver is on the surface of each of these spheres when the distances and the satellites' locations are correct. These distances and satellites' locations are used to compute the location of the receiver using the navigation equations. This location is then displayed, perhaps with a moving map display or latitude and longitude; elevation information may be included. Many GPS units show derived information such as direction and speed, calculated from position changes.
In typical GPS operation, four or more satellites must be visible to obtain an accurate result. Four sphere surfaces typically do not intersect.  Because of this, it can be said with confidence that when the navigation equations are solved to find an intersection, this solution gives the position of the receiver along with the difference between the time kept by the receiver's on-board clock and the true time-of-day, thereby eliminating the need for a very large, expensive, and power hungry clock. The very accurately computed time is used only for display or not at all in many GPS applications, which use only the location. A number of applications for GPS do make use of this cheap and highly accurate timing. These include time transfer, traffic signal timing, and synchronization of cell phone base stations.


          On February 10, 1993, the National Aeronautic Association selected the GPS Team as winners of the 1992 Robert J. Collier Trophy, the nation's most prestigious aviation award. This team combines researchers from the Naval Research Laboratory, the USAF, the Aerospace Corporation, Rockwell International Corporation, and IBM Federal Systems Company. The citation honors them "for the most significant development for safe and efficient navigation and surveillance of air and spacecraft since the introduction of radio navigation 50 years ago."
Two GPS developers received the National Academy of Engineering Charles Stark Draper Prize for 2003:
  • Ivan Getting, emeritus president of The Aerospace Corporation and an engineer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, established the basis for GPS, improving on the World War IIland-based radio system called LORAN (Long-range Radio Aid to Navigation).
  • Bradford Parkinson, professor of aeronautics and astronautics at Stanford University, conceived the present satellite-based system in the early 1960s and developed it in conjunction with the U.S. Air Force. Parkinson served twenty-one years in the Air Force, from 1957 to 1978, and retired with the rank of colonel.
  • GPS developer Roger L. Easton received the National Medal of Technology on February 13, 2006.

Timeline and modernization

  • In 1972, the USAF Central Inertial Guidance Test Facility (Holloman AFB), conducted developmental flight tests of two prototype GPS receivers over White Sands Missile Range, using ground-based pseudo-satellites.
  • In 1978, the first experimental Block-I GPS satellite was launched.
  • In 1983, after Soviet interceptor aircraft shot down the civilian airliner KAL 007 that strayed into prohibited airspacebecause of navigational errors, killing all 269 people on board, U.S. President Ronald Reagan announced that GPS would be made available for civilian uses once it was completed, although it had been previously published [in Navigation magazine] that the CA code (Coarse Acquisition code) would be available to civilian users.
  • By 1985, ten more experimental Block-I satellites had been launched to validate the concept. Command & Control of these satellites had moved from Onizuka AFS, CA and turned over to the 2nd Satellite Control Squadron (2SCS) located at Falcon Air Force Station in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
  • On February 14, 1989, the first modern Block-II satellite was launched.
  • The Gulf War from 1990 to 1991, was the first conflict where GPS was widely used.
  • In 1992, the 2nd Space Wing, which originally managed the system, was de-activated and replaced by the 50th Space Wing.
  • By December 1993, GPS achieved initial operational capability (IOC), indicating a full constellation (24 satellites) was available and providing the Standard Positioning Service (SPS).
  • Full Operational Capability (FOC) was declared by Air Force Space Command (AFSPC) in April 1995, signifying full availability of the military's secure Precise Positioning Service (PPS).[27]
  • In 1996, recognizing the importance of GPS to civilian users as well as military users, U.S. President Bill Clinton issued a policy directive[28] declaring GPS to be a dual-use system and establishing an Interagency GPS Executive Board to manage it as a national asset.
  • In 1998, United States Vice President Al Gore announced plans to upgrade GPS with two new civilian signals for enhanced user accuracy and reliability, particularly with respect to aviation safety and in 2000 the United States Congress authorized the effort, referring to it as GPS III. ..