GPS Block I
Initial Operational Capability (IOC):
Origin: United States of America
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Description: The GPS satellites developed under the NAVSTAR program allows any properly equipped user to determine precise time, velocity and worldwide latitude, longitude and altitude to within a few meters. Originally was designed to be an accurate guidance and navigation tool for the military services but it has been adopted by civil and commercial customers for transportation, surveying and rescue operations.
The first GPS Block I spacecraft was put into orbit on February 22, 1978. In the past, the GPS constellation spacecrafts fluctuated from 2-18 to 21 but currently the GPS constellation owned by the United States Air Force consists of 27 satellites (24+3 spares). As of 2004, the US Air Force GPS constellation consists of six planes, each one containing at least four satellites operating 24/7. Redundant satellites are being launched as spares to counterbalance attrition.
The Rockwell International GPS Block I space vehicles were launched from 1978 to 1988 totaling 12 satellites. These satellites were intended for testing and to validate the Global Positioning System feasibility.
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