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   >   8-4-95. NYPaper:
   >   "A Contract Is Awarded To Improve Navigation."
   >      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.

   This is called an active location system, and it was originally disigned by
   G.K. O'Neill (The Princeton Physics Prof., Space Studies Institute founder,
   the guy who came up with all those spiffy space-settlement ideas in the
   late seventies -- see Babylon 5 for a picture ;-) -- and the inventor of
   the mass driver, among other things), under the name of Geostar, in the
   early 1980's. It's accuracy was supposed to be 6 inches in 2 dimensions,
   and 6 feet in 3 diminsions.  The FAA didn't like it because they didn't
   invent it, the DOD hated it because they wanted to commercialize GPS and
   they didn't want anything so accurate for civilian purposes. 

Actually, I (and probably others, but I don't want to argue from the
"it is widely believed" position) feel fairly sure that the government
commercialized GPS in order to put Geostar out of business, because there's
nothing for putting a company out of business quite like the government
saying the'll spend thirty billion dollars giving the same thing away
for free.

It's interesting that they're mentioning the ATC application: O'Neill
was a private pilot and came up with the Geostar idea initially as an
improvement to the current air traffic control system.

The whole thing would have cost less than either GPS or the planned
upgrades to the current ATC system, but the government is willing to
pay an order of magnitude (or more) worth of money to get a system
they can control.