Navigation satellite systems of the USSR, Russia and the United States. Second story

October 4 1957 of the year was an important incentive for the United States - American engineers after the launch of the first artificial Earth satellite in the USSR decided to adapt space to meet navigation needs (with Yank’s typical practicality). At the Applied Physics Laboratory at Johns Hopkins АPL (Applied Physics Laboratory), the staff of W. G. Guyer and J. C. Wiffenbach studied the radio signal from the Soviet “Sputnik-1” and noticed a strong Doppler frequency shift of the signal emitted by the passing satellite. When our firstborn in space approached, the frequency of the signal increased, and the receding emitted radio signals of decreasing frequency. The researchers managed to develop a computer program to determine the parameters of the orbit of a passing object on its radio signal in one pass. Naturally, the reverse principle is also possible - the calculation of the already known parameters of the orbit using the same frequency shift of the unknown coordinates of the ground receiving device. This thought came to mind at APL employee F.T. McClure, and he, along with Laboratory Director Richard Kershner, made a group of researchers to work on a project called Transit.

Navigation satellite systems of the USSR, Russia and the United States. Second story
Richard Kershner (left) is one of the founding fathers of the US global positioning system. Source:

The submarine "George Washington" is the first user of the Transit system. Source:

Operational orbits of the Transit constellation. Source:

The main customer was the US Navy, which needed precise navigation tools for new submarines equipped with Polaris missiles. The need to accurately determine the location of the submarines of the type “George Washington” was extremely necessary for the then-new launch of missiles with nuclear warheads from anywhere in the oceans.

Transit receiving equipment for submarines. Source:

Already by 1958, the Americans were able to present the first experimental model of the satellite system Transit, and 17 September 1959, he was sent into space. Ground infrastructure was also created - by the time of launch, the complex of consumer navigation equipment was ready, as well as ground tracking stations.

Engineers at Hopkins University for assembling and testing the Transit spacecraft. Source:

The Americans were working on a complete afterburner satellite navigation project: by the year 1959 they built as many as five types of Transit satellites, which were later all launched and tested. In operating mode, the American navigation system earned 1963 in December, that is, in less than five years, it was possible to create a workable system that has good accuracy for its time - the mean square error (UPC) for a fixed object was 60 m.

Satellite Transit 5A model 1970 of the year. Source:

Transit receiver installed in the car, used by geologist Smithsonian University Ted Maxwell in the Egyptian desert in 1987 year. The workhorse of the researcher was ...

... Soviet "Niva"! Source: [/ center]

Determining the coordinates of a submarine moving in the surface position was more problematic: if you make a mistake with the speed value at 0,5 km / h, the UPC will increase to 500 m. Therefore, it was more expedient to contact the satellite for help in the fixed position of the vessel, which again was not easy. Low-orbit US Navy (1100 km altitude) Transit received four satellites in the middle of 64, bringing the orbital constellation to seven vehicles, and from 67, navigation became available and mere mortal. Currently, the Transit satellite constellation is used to study the ionosphere. The inability of the first satellite navigation system in the world was the inability to determine the height of the position of the ground user, the considerable duration of the observation and the positioning accuracy of the object, which became insufficient in time. All this has led to new searches in the US space industry.

Spacecraft Timation. Source:

The second satellite navigation system was Timation from the Naval Research Laboratory (NRL - Naval Research Laboratory), which was led by Roger Easton. Within the project, two satellites were assembled, equipped with ultra-accurate clocks for broadcasting time signals to ground-based consumers and accurately determining their own location.

Experimental satellite Timation NTS-3, equipped with a rubidium clock. Source:

At Timation, a basic principle was formulated for the operation of future GPS systems: a transmitter operated on the satellite, emitting an encoded signal, which was fixed by the ground subscriber and measured the delay in its passage. Knowing the exact location of the satellite in orbit, the equipment easily calculated the distance to it and, based on these data, determined its own coordinates (ephemeris). Of course, this requires at least three satellites, and preferably four. The first Timations went into space in the 1967 year and carried a quartz watch at the beginning, and later an ultra-precise atomic clock - rubidium and cesium.

The United States Air Force, regardless of the Navy, operated on its own global positioning system, called the 621B System (Air Force 621B). An important innovation of this technology was the three-dimensionality - now it is possible to determine the latitude, longitude and long-awaited height of the object. The satellite signals were separated according to a new coding principle based on a pseudo-random noise-like signal. Pseudo-random code increases the signal noise immunity and resolves the issue of access restriction. Civilian users of navigation equipment have access only to open codes that can be modified from the ground control center at any time. In this case, the entire "peaceful" technique will fail, determining its own coordinates with significant error. Closed military codes will remain unchanged.

The tests were launched at 1972 at the site in New Mexico, using transmitters on balloons and airplanes as satellite simulators. The 612В system showed outstanding positioning accuracy of several meters, and it was at that time that the concept of a mid-orbit global navigation system with 16 satellites was formed. In this embodiment, a cluster of four satellites (this number is necessary for accurate navigation) provided 24-hour coverage of the whole continent. For a couple of years, the 612B System was at the rank of experimental ones and was not particularly interested in the Pentagon. At the same time, several offices in the US were working on a “hot” navigation theme: the applied physics laboratory worked on the Transit modification, the Navy doped Timation, and even the ground forces offered their own SECOR (Sequential Correlation of Range). This could not but bother the Ministry of Defense, which risked encountering unique navigation formats in each type of force. At a certain moment, one of the American warriors slapped his hand on the table and was born GPS, which absorbed all the best of its predecessors. In the middle of 70, under the auspices of the United States Department of Defense, a tripartite joint committee was created called the Navigation Satellite Executive Group (NAVSEG), which determined the important parameters of the future system — the number of satellites, their heights, signal codes, and modulation methods. When we arrived at the cost figure, we decided to immediately create two options - military and commercial, with a predetermined error in positioning accuracy. The Air Force played a leading role in this program, since its Air Force 621B was the most thoughtful model of the future navigation system, from which GPS borrowed almost unchanged pseudo-random noise technology. The signal synchronization system was taken from the Timtation project, but the orbit was lifted to 20 thousands of kilometers, which provided the 12-hour period of circulation instead of the 8-hour from its predecessor. An experienced satellite was launched into space already in 1978 and, as usual, they had previously prepared all the necessary ground infrastructure - only seven types of receiving equipment were invented. In 1995, the GPS was fully deployed - around 30 satellites are constantly in orbit, despite the fact that 24 is enough to work. Six orbital planes for satellites are allocated, which have an inclination in 550. At the moment, surveying applications GPS allow to determine the position of the consumer with an accuracy of less than one millimeter! Since 1996, the Block 2R satellites have appeared, equipped with the autonomous navigation system AutoNav, which allows the device to operate in orbit when the ground control station is destroyed for at least 180 days.

The combat use of GPS until the end of the 80-x was sporadic and unimportant: determining the coordinates of the minefields in the Persian Gulf and eliminating the imperfection of maps during the invasion of Panama. Full baptism of fire took place in the Persian Gulf in 1990-1991 during the Desert Storm. The troops were able to actively maneuver in the desert, where it is difficult to find acceptable landmarks, as well as to conduct artillery fire with high accuracy at any time of the day in conditions of sandstorms. Later, GPS was useful in a peacekeeping operation in Somalia in 1993, in the landing of Americans in Haiti in 1994, and finally in the 21st century Afghan and Iraqi campaigns.
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  1. +4
    3 July 2018 05: 22
    A friend told me ... They are standing in a car in the middle of the field ... And the navigator claims that a little more and they will be at home ... Everything breaks down and only the good old map will not fail ..
    1. +4
      3 July 2018 07: 07
      Quote: Vard
      Everything breaks and only the good old card will not let you down

      The accuracy and quality of positioning is very dependent on the chip. There are modern telephones that catch great indoors, but there are ones that cannot be found on the face in clear weather.
      1. 0
        3 July 2018 08: 30
        In graduate school, two field seasons took place with the Nokia E52 as a navigator. He worked pretty well in the field, but disgusting in urban development - he loses a signal, he lies at a speed.
        1. +1
          3 July 2018 09: 06
          Nokia E-Series (used E72) does not have a full GPS ... it does not catch a fig without communication. I got to Belgium and until roaming turned on there he found nothing at all .... the same song is now in Samsung A series. This is called A-GPS navigation on cell towers.
          1. +1
            3 July 2018 09: 59
            It is a real GPS, it works in isolation from base stations, displays the satellites to which it is attached (the catch is that the satellites are poorly seen in dense buildings). Regular software gave only coordinates, installed a broken SmartComGPS for navigation on the map (it works with attached bitmap images), uploaded scans of General Staff kilometers + satellite from Google.
            1. 0
              3 July 2018 10: 47
              In general, there you can put all kinds of cards, but these devices do not work without a GSM network. Now I have a Samsung A5 (2017) and it also does not determine the coordinates without a GSM or WiFi network ... for Samsung it depends on the model, for example, Galaxy of all years have a normal state of emergency and they don’t need a network, but I have all this nokia coordinate definition format.
              1. 0
                3 July 2018 10: 51
                I spent 2 years with him, mainly where there is no connection. It is attached specifically to GPS satellites, while it displays how much it sees at the moment and what is the signal level from each.
              2. 0
                3 July 2018 11: 04
                Now I’ve checked that the A-GPS is disabled in the settings, as is the definition for Wi-Fi networks, only the built-in GPS chip works.
                1. 0
                  3 July 2018 11: 18
                  And E71 didn’t work for me ... until they turned on roaming ... and A5, too. And Galaxy2 worked anywhere. When you turn on navigation, does it show you how many satellites he found? If yes, then there is a full chip, if not, then only A-GPS
                  1. 0
                    3 July 2018 11: 20
                    Now I turned it on without any SIM in the apartment. About 5 minutes I thought, but gave a binding to 5 satellites with visible 8.
                    1. 0
                      3 July 2018 11: 26
                      This means a full chip with GPS, and A-GPS auxiliary, when the signal is lost.
                      1. 0
                        3 July 2018 11: 43
                        We have to try in the city, but I turned it off in 2012 and forgot about it. Although now it’s not to the fields, but I know the road from home to the metro and from the metro to work :(
    2. BAI
      3 July 2018 10: 07
      In Switzerland there was a court a few years ago - a lady on the navigator managed to call into the lake.
    3. +1
      4 July 2018 01: 32
      Only to find landmarks on the ground and correctly determine their location on the map)))
  2. kig
    3 July 2018 14: 39
    In 1983, I had to participate in the acceptance of the first domestic lighter carrier named "Alexei Kosygin". On the bridge, among other equipment, there was a Transit system receiver indicator, which was called Biryusa-SN. They made it at the Kiev Institute of Quantum. The most common indicator, at least in our fleet, at that time was the Magnavox-don't-remember-any-number apparatus. When I saw this Biryusa, it immediately seemed to me somehow suspiciously familiar. Information was displayed on the screen in the same format, in the same font, only the letters were yellow in contrast to the red and ruby ​​ones of Magnavox. The receiver was beautifully built into the navigation console, only the screen protruded a little, and suddenly the quantum team for some reason brought another receiver from the institute and simply put it on the table next to ours. Probably wanted to verify the testimony. When it was turned on, I was not surprised to see a flickering Magnavox sign in the upper right corner. It was a receiver with serial number 000001, and ours was 0000002 and the provocative signature was already deleted there. By the way, the joke about the largest microcalculators in this case did not work, Biryusa was only a little larger in size and a bit heavier than the foreign counterpart, and that was because the display was a bit larger.
    1. +3
      3 July 2018 18: 56
      In fact, since the 1970s in the USSR, a bunch of "Cicada" - "Schooner" was used.
      1. kig
        4 July 2018 01: 37
        Theoretically, yes, it was, but practically on merchant ships it was not visible. There were more than 200 vessels in the Far Eastern Shipping Company at that time, and Schooner appeared only on icebreakers in the 80s.

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