GPS celebrates 25th anniversary

The Global Positioning System, the GPS, marks its 25th year of operation Apr. 27, 2020.

On this date in 1995, the system reached full operational capability, meaning the system met all performance requirements. U.S. Air Force Space Command formally announced the milestone three months later.



“This is a major milestone,” Gen. Thomas S. Moorman Jr., former Air Force Vice Chief of Staff, said in 1995. “GPS has become integral to our warfighters and is rapidly becoming a true utility in the civilian community.”

Above: An artist’s conception of GPS III. Image courtesy of Lockheed Martin.

Lockheed Martin GPS III (SV 01-10) SatelliteLockheed Martin GPS III (SV 01-10) Satellite

Initially developed for the military to meet a critical need for determining precise location on the battlefield, GPS has also become an integral part of technology affecting the lives of billions of people worldwide.



“The United States Space Force’s continuing objective for the constellation is to ensure GPS remains the Gold Standard for global space-based positioning, navigation and timing,” said Gen. Jay Raymond, USSF Chief of Space Operations, and U.S. Space Command Commander.

Today, the U.S. Space Force operates the GPS satellite constellation as a global utility – always available to everyone, everywhere on Earth.

“GPS is a free for use service provided by the Space Force that enhances everyday lives around the world,” said Brig. Gen. DeAnna Burt, USSF Director of Operations and Communications. “GPS provides the highest accuracy positioning and timing data. In addition to the essential capabilities it provides for the military, GPS underpins critical financial, transportation and agricultural infrastructure. It’s always available, whether for an ATM transaction or securing a rideshare.”

source US Space Force