Space and Missile Systems Center Commander Lt. Gen. Ellen Pawlikowski accepted the donation of the Dr. Robert H. Goddard Memorial Trophy from Dr. Bradford Parkinson on behalf of SMC and the GPS Directorate at a special ceremony held at Los Angeles Air Force Base, Calif., Nov. 30.
Parkinson and the “GPS Originators” were awarded the prestigious Goddard Trophy in March 2012. The award recognizes the team’s “significant contributions to the development of the GPS, one of the most innovative space inventions of all time and recently recognized as one of the greatest space contributions to humanity,” according to the National Space Club, which sponsors the award.
The GPS originators decided to give their trophy to Air Force Space Command’s SMC, the home of GPS.
In 1973, the NAVSTAR-Global Positioning System Joint Program Office, headed then by Col. Bradford Parkinson, developed the GPS architecture. Since its inception, GPS has evolved from an idea, to a prototype, to a reality that is a vital part of modern travel and commerce, in addition to its original duty of serving the needs of the warfighter. GPS also contributes vital capabilities to emergency response, agriculture, aviation, maritime operations, roads and highways, surveying and mapping, environmental issues, and the nation’s telecommunications infrastructure.
The history of the GPS program provides a source of “lessons learned” and a sound foundation that continues to make today’s GPS satellites, control systems and user equipment more reliable and effective, while ensuring the applications that acquire them are more efficient. Today, several GPS pioneers are still involved with the program, providing expert advice through frequent interaction or as members of independent program review teams.
GPS continues to partner with industry and other countries to develop newer and better ways to utilize GPS signals. As such, GPS continues to be the gold standard to which all other Global Navigation Satellite Systems are compared.
The Dr. Robert H. Goddard Memorial Trophy, named for the man considered to be the father of modern rocketry, is sponsored by the National Space Club. This premier aerospace award is presented annually to the individual or group who has had the greatest impact on space activities.
Past winners include Presidents Johnson and Reagan, the Apollo 11 astronauts, Werner von Braun, John Glenn (twice), and many other space pioneers.
The National Space Club, founded in 1957, is a non-profit organization whose members come from industry, government, and educational institutions, as well as private individuals who collectively seek to promote leadership in rocketry, astronautics and related technologies.
The GPS Originators team is comprised of space professionals who have made significant contributions to the development of GPS: Parkinson, Dr. Jim Spilker, Roger Easton, Hideyoshi Nakamura, Dr. Charlie Cahn, Robert Kern, Pete Wilhelm, Dr. AJ VanDierendonck, Dr. Fran Natali, Dr. Robert Gold, Tom Stansell, Dr. William Guier, Dr. George Weiffenbach, Frank McClure, Dr. Dick Kershner, Dr. Ivan Getting, James Woodford, Ernst Jechardt, Gerhard Huebner, Gaylord Green, Dick Schwartz, Dr. Mal Currie, Walt Melton, Cmdr. Bill Huston, Dr. Brock Strom, Bob Rennard, Hugo Fruehoff, Bill Feess, Ed Lassiter, Steve Gilbert, Mel Birnbaum, Vito Calbi, Sherm Fransico and Don Henderson.