April 28th, 2014

2014 Technology Reports

Mr. Welch (5th/6th)

GPS is NOT Boring!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

by ShutUpAndRead

                         You will now learn about GPS. You will read this whole report. Then you will share it with everyone you know. So, this report is about GPS, which you will memorize and think it’s cool. In this cool report you will read about what GPS is, which is really cool. For example, you will learn about the cool parts of GPS. So yeah!! Enjoy!

What is GPS?

You will now learn about… well, what GPS is! When I used Wikipedia, I learned that the Global Positioning System is basically a bunch of satellites in space working together and sending signals to Earth. GPS refers to the whole system, but when most people say GPS, they mean a receiver. The GPS makes it possible to know your location and time anywhere on or near Earth. For an accurate reading, you must have four or more GPS satellites in an unobstructed line of sight, although there are a few special circumstances where you only need three. It’s so cool, because now you’ll never get lost if you have a GPS receiver!

        If you ever thought GPS was really complicated and stuff, like a ton of wires and buttons, then you’re wrong! Wikipedia says a GPS receiver uses radio signals from satellites in space that orbit the Earth. The range of GPS satellites visible at any time is around 6 to 12 satellites. Each satellite contains an atomic clock (a very accurate clock, based on atoms and stuff), which is carefully set by NORAD (North American Aerospace Defense Command) several times every day. The radio signals contain very accurate time and positions of the satellites. The GPS receiver subtracts the current time from the time the signal was sent. The difference is how long ago the signal was sent. The time difference multiplied by the speed of light is the distance to the satellite. The GPS receiver uses trigonometry to calculate where it is from each satellite's position and distance. Usually there must be at least four satellites to solve the geometric equations. A GPS receiver can calculate its position many times in one second. A GPS receiver finds its speed and direction by using its change in position and change in time. Most receivers available to modern consumers are accurate to 20 meters (66 ft) almost anywhere on the Earth. You don’t even have to be on Earth for your GPS to work!!

        This paragraph is about what the different parts of GPS are. According to Wikipedia, there are three major parts: the space segment, a control segment, and a user segment (SS, CS, US). The US Air Force takes care of the space and control segments, and the user segment is a user’s receiver. The SS is made of the satellites, or space vehicles (SV). GPS was first meant for 24 SVs, eight in three orbits. Then it was changed to four SVs in six orbits. The CS is where it’s controlled, obviously. It has a master control station (MCS), another MCS, four ground antennas, and six monitor stations. The monitoring stations in Hawaii, Kwajalein Atoll, Ascension Island, Diego Garcia, Colorado Springs, Colorado and Cape Canaveral track the satellites. The ground antennas are in Kwajalein, Ascension Island, Diego Garcia, and Cape


        Here are some of the important events in GPS’s history. According to Wikipedia, in 1978, the first experimental GPS satellite was launched. In 1983, a plane shot down a civilian plane that flew into a danger zone because the pilot followed wrong directions, killing all 269 people on board. After that, president Ronald Reagan announced that citizens would be able to use GPS after it was finished. In 1985, 10 more satellites had been launched. During the Gulf War, from 1990 to 1991, GPS was used a lot. In 1991, the handheld receiver was invented, making a difference of almost 50 pounds! In 1993, all 24 satellites were in orbit, completing SPS (Standard Positioning System). And now, well, just look at us. Now we can access GPS on almost anything! It is also much more accurate. Now you’ll never get lost!! Go GPS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Works Cited

"Global Positioning System." Global_Positioning_System. Wikimedia Foundation, n.d. Web. 27 May 2014. <http://simple.wikipedia.org/wiki/Global_Positioning_System>.

"Global Positioning System." Global_Positioning_System. Wikimedia Foundation, n.d. Web. 27 May 2014. <http://simple.wikipedia.org/wiki/Global_Positioning_System>.