NAVSTAR 2 image First GPS Navstar satellite to go on display

The first GPS Navstar satellite is to go on display in the Time and Navigation exhibit at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C. this month.

The first GPS Navstar satellite is to go on display in the Time and Navigation exhibit at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C. this month.

 
The satellite, dubbed NTS-2, was the first satellite designed and built by NRL with funding from the GPS Joint Program. It was launched on 23 June, 1977 on an Atlas E/F rocket, and it became the first of four satellites coupled together to demonstrate the power of instantaneous navigation positioning.
 
NTS-2 was the first demonstration satellite as part of a constellation of sallites operated by the Navstar GPS Joint Program Office in Los Angeles, California. The technology, developed by Roger L. Easton, laid the foundations for modern GPS, which many of us take for granted.
 
NAVSTAR 2 image First GPS Navstar satellite to go on display
 
GPS was originally designed for military use, like many modern technologies, but it has become a pivotal means of civilian navigation, all the way from commercial aviation to popular smartphones. There are currently 32 GPS satellites orbiting the Earth.
 
The NTS-2 satellite did more than herald a new means of navigation, however. It was time measurements from this satellite that demonstrated Einstein's theory of relativity, which ultimately resulted in the need for a relativistic offset correction for all GPS satellites, a discovery that is still in use today.