Wikipedia 10K Redux by Reagle from Starling archive. Bugs abound!!!

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The Global Positioning System, usually called GPS, and originally caled NAVSTAR, is a satellite navigation system used for determining one's precise location anywhere on [[earth]].  A GPS receiver receives transmissions from multiple satellites, and determines one's position by triangulating this data.

The GPS was designed by and is controlled by the [[United States/Department of Defense|United States Department of Defense]].  It is used by countless civilians as well, who can use the GPS's Standard Positioning Service free of charge.  

In the past, the civilian signal was degraded, and a more accurate Precise Positioning Service was availble only to the United States military and other, mostly government users.  However, in May, 2000, [[Bill Clinton]] announced that this "Selective Availability" would be turned off, and so now all users enjoy the same level of access.

The GPS normally consists of 24 satellites in 6 orbital planes.  Each satellite circles the earth twice every day.

The first GPS satellite was launched in 1978.  The final, 24th satellite was launched in 1994.