Cold War Conversations, a podcast series focused on the cold war era, recently interviewed Richard Easton about the early days of the U.S. space program and the origin of GPS. Listen to Episode 76 to hear Richard recall details of growing up with a father doing space projects at the Naval Research Laboratory and share details of his research into the military programs that led to GPS.
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Richard Easton recently contributed a guest post for the Lidar News “In the Scan” blog. In his post, Richard reviews the history of GPS and highlights several common myths surrounding the technology, as well as widespread misinformation about its origin. Richard continues to pursue documentary evidence that will shed additional light on the early days of GPS.
Richard kicked off the new year with an appearance on TOCRadio’s Podcast Episode 19. In a wide-ranging interview, hosts Wyatt Harper and Matt Schoenfeldt queried him about the historical development of GPS and the arrival of GPS III satellites, which are finally launching after years of delays. Richard debunked the common myth that President Ronald Reagan declassified GPS for its first civilian use, discussed how GPS impacted the Persian Gulf War, summarized ongoing challenges related to spoofing and jamming, and raised the policy issue posed by whether new military receivers should incorporate other GNSS signals.
TOCRadio is a military-themed podcast produced by LTC Matt Schoenfeldt and CPT Wyatt Harper.
Narrated by: Douglas R. Pratt
Length: 9 hrs and 4 mins
Release date: 01-04-18
Publisher: University Press Audiobooks
The Institute of Navigation Quarterly Newsletter, Vol. 27, No. 3 (Summer 2017), page 10, published a feature article, GPS Historians Spread a PNT Gospel, about several recent public talks Richard Easton and Eric Frazier have presented, including one that appeared on C-SPAN’s American History TV.
The authors continue to mine historical factors in the development of GPS that provide relevant signposts for the technology going forward.
On May 5, 2017, Richard Easton and Eric Frazier presented “GPS: American Invention, Global Impact” at the New York Military Affairs Symposium (NYMAS) on Lexington Avenue in Manhattan.
The talk focused on how GPS technology, which was conceived and developed in U.S. military laboratories to meet Cold War needs, has spawned a worldwide satellite navigation industry, with global revenues from devices themselves and added-value services enabled by them estimated by the European Global Navigation Satellite Systems Agency (GSA) to reach €270 billion to €300 billion by 2025.
C-SPAN was on hand to videotape the presentation for its “American History TV” series. The AH schedule shows the first air date as 2 p.m., June 3, 2017, on C-SPAN3. Afterward, it will be available to watch online.
SPY Historian Vince Houghton sat down with Richard Easton, co-author of GPS Declassified: From Smart Bombs to Smartphones, to discuss the development of GPS and its role in the military, intelligence, and civilian domains. Easton’s father, Roger, led the Space Applications Branch of the Naval Research Laboratory from the Vanguard Satellite era to the early days of GPS development. Listen to the entire podcast.
Richard Easton and Eric Frazier were recently invited by the National Security Space Institute (NSSI), located at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs, Colo., to speak to students and faculty.
The two-day visit included a 90-minute presentation, July 21, as part of the Space Professionals Speaker Series, hosted by Gen. John E. Hyten, Commander, Air Force Space Command.
The authors got a behind-the-scenes tour of the GPS ground control facility at nearby Schriever AFB and met more than a dozen of the over 100 members of the 2nd Space Operations Squadron, who keep the GPS constellation running smoothly 24/7.
Easton and Frazier presented their talk, “GPS: Military Asset, Public Utility,” five times in all, including to the space professionals community, to three classes of NSSI students from the United States and allies, and to a faculty gathering.
For two individuals who have devoted countless hours to researching the historical development of GPS, as well as its economic and sociological implications, Easton and Frazier consider it a rare treat to have the opportunity to meet the experts who manage GPS and see firsthand the facilities they operate.
View the entire talk at YouTube:
On April 1, 2016, Richard Easton and Dr. Bleddyn E. Bowen were guests on The Space Show, hosted by Dr. David Livingston. They discussed space history and strategies for space security. Bowen is a Teaching Fellow in strategy, military history, and intelligence studies at the Department of International Politics, Aberystwyth University, Wales.
Listen to the podcast of the interview at the website:
The Space Review recently published Richard Easton’s article, “GPS origins myths as propounded by Stephen Johnson and Annie Jacobsen.” In the article, he lists a number of credibility-shattering errors found in two popular books that have received positive reviews and (unjustifiable) praise for their scholarship.
In most instances, a simple Google search and an hour or so of reading the results would have informed the writers that the two satellite systems they conflate–Transit and GPS–were developed by different entities at different times and used different technologies.
Public ignorance and misunderstanding about GPS is widespread. That might not matter much, if it were not a system that taxpayers spend around $1 billion a year to maintain and that has become a vital public utility around the planet. It is unfortunate that large publishers and media organizations unwittingly perpetuate errors and misunderstanding through lack of due diligence.