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40 Years Later, GPS Still Going Strong

Rockwell Collins celebrates a milestone anniversary.

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Earlier this year, Rockwell Collins celebrated the 40th anniversary of receiving the world’s first Global Positioning System (GPS) satellite signal, establishing a new standard in navigation and location accuracy. The first GPS satellite was known as NYS-2, and the signal was received by a Rockwell Collins engineer, David Van Dusseldorp, sitting on the roof of a company building in Cedar Rapids, Ia. and adjusting an antenna every five minutes.

Retirees involved in the project, including Van Dusseldorp, were invited back to commemorate the event. “We had leaders and team members working together, and I knew we could meet the challenge put before us,” he recalled. “The future of GPS was uncertain at the time, but I really felt like we had just accomplished something important.”

Soon after receiving the signal, Rockwell Collins was awarded the Navstar GPS user equipment contract by the U.S. Air Force, and the company would build upon that to become a leader in GPS technology and products for aerospace and defense. Since that historic day 40 years ago, Rockwell Collins has introduced more than 50 GPS products, including GPS anti-jam and precision landing systems. It has delivered more than one million GPS receivers for commercial avionics and government applications, helping shape how the world navigates both on the ground and in the air.

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