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"A Contract Is Awarded To Improve Navigation."
The Federal Aviation Administration yesterday awarded a
contract to greatly improve a navigation system that
would let civilians pinpoint their locations anywhere in
the United States to within 21 feet.
The augmentation would consist of 36 receiving stations
in the United States, each fixed in a precisely surveyed
spot. Each station would listen electronically for the
signals given off by the halo of satellites, and
calculate what the satellites were saying about the
station's location. But the station, bolted down, would
not rely on the satellites to determine its location; it
would already know that precisely.
The central office, listening to all 36 stations, would
establish a correction factor. It would radio the
correction factor to a different satellite, one in
geosynchronous orbit over the United States, meaning
that its position did not change relative to the earth's
The geosynchronous satellite would radio a correction
factor back to planes in flight, or any other user. The
plane would also receive signals from the G.P.S.
satellites, calculate a position, apply the correction
factor and fix its location.