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.
The recent article, “A Smart Bomb in Every Garage: Driverless Cars and the Future of Terrorist Attacks,” by Jeffrey Lewis, PhD, cites GPS Declassified. Lewis, a lecturer in International Studies at The Ohio State University, examines the threat of terrorists using self-driving cars to deliver car bombs. The article appears on The National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START) website.
On June 30, 2015, Richard joined a panel discussion on the Milt Rosenberg Show to talk about the history and future of space exploration.
Other guests were Bill Melberg, a former aviation executive and now editor of AmericasUncommonsense.com, professional speaker and frequent writer on aerospace topics, and Dr. Paul Spudis, an astrogeologist and moon expert who is senior staff scientist at the Lunar and Planetary Institute in Houston, Texas.
Listen to the podcast here.
Milt Rosenberg welcomes Bill Melberg and Richard Easton to the WCGO studio. On the desk in front of them sits a prototype model of the camera used on Surveyor I, the first unmanned lunar soft-lander.
On March 1, Richard Easton and Eric Frazier joined Dr. David Livingston, host of The Space Show, for a discussion about GPS modernization. Topics included new capabilities, schedule delays, cost overruns, international competition and potential threats to the system–a concern shared by many listeners, as evidenced by questions posed by email and callers. You can listen to the podcast here.
Keely Grasser, author of “From Duct Tape to Drones: Military Inventions That Impact our World,” in the Winter 2015 edition of Phoenix Patriot Magazine, interviewed Richard Easton and Eric Frazier for background information on GPS, one of eight innovations covered in the article. The key point she makes: GPS technology has spread throughout so many military, commercial and consumer industries that economists now find it impossible to accurately put a dollar figure on its overall worldwide impact.
Business Insider recently spoke with Richard Easton for input on its article, How Does GPS Work?
Richard noted that while GPS costs about $1 billion a year to maintain and replenish, it produces perhaps $100 billion per year in economic benefits, quite a “bang for our buck.”
Applications for GPS continue to expand, owing largely to a decision made at the beginning–to make the system passive. GPS satellites broadcast one-way signals, like a radio station, meaning an unlimited number of users can share them without transmitting anything back to the satellite, which would saturate the system and limit its use.
Photo via GPS.gov
Public Lecture Series feat. Richard Easton – May 5, 2014 from The Explorers Club on Vimeo.
From Harrison to GPS – This lecture traces the development of navigation from the 18th century longitude problem to the invention of the Global Positioning System. Easton will describe the two major proposed solutions to the longitude problem: accurate clocks as developed by John Harrison and observations of celestial objects such as lunars and the Jovian moons. He will then trace the history of satellite navigation proposals culminating in GPS which combines the two 18th century proposals, putting accurate synchronized clocks in satellites which are artificial celestial objects.
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