Roger L. Easton

Roger L. Easton

:"This entry is for the satellite scientist. For his son, an imaging scientist, see Roger L. Easton, Jr.Roger L. Easton, Sr. is an American scientist. He is the principal inventor and designer of the Global Positioning System (GPS). In 1955, Easton co-wrote the Naval Research Laboratory's Project Vanguard proposal for a U.S. satellite program in competition with two other proposals, including a proposal from the U.S. Army prepared by Wernher Von Braun. The Eisenhower Administration selected Project Vanguard. Easton also invented the Minitrack tracking system to determine the Vanguard satellite's orbit. When Sputnik was launched in 1957 Easton extended the system to actively follow unknown orbiting satellites. The Naval Space Surveillance System became the first system to detect and track all types of Earth-orbiting objects.

Later in his career at NRL, Easton conceived, patented, and led the development of essential enabling technologies for the United States Global Positioning System (GPS). During the 1960s and early 1970s he developed a time-based navigational system with passive ranging, circular orbits, and space-borne high precision clocks placed in satellites. The idea was tested with four experimental satellites: TIMATION I and II (in 1967 and 1969) and Navigation Technology Satellites (NTS) 1 and 2 (in 1974 and 1977). NTS-2 was the first satellite to transmit GPS signals.

He received the National Medal of Technology for his "extensive pioneering achievements in spacecraft tracking, navigation and timing technology that led to the development of the NAVSTAR-Global Positioning System (GPS)." [ [ Naval Research Laboratory (NRL Press Release 60-05r 12/7/2005): President Announces Roger Easton Recipient of National Medal of Technology] ] [ [ President Bush Presents National Medals of Science and Technology, February 13, 2006] ] A picture of this award ceremony is on "Google images."

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