Recognition for creators of GPS

From left, Richard Schwartz, Bradford Parkinson, James Spilker, and Hugo Fruehauf


Four engineers who created the first Global Positioning System (GPS) have received The Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering, awarded since 2013 by the UK’s Royal Academy of Engineering and supported by private sponsors. Americans Bradford Parkinson, James Spilker, Hugo Fruehauf, and Richard Schwartz will share the £1 million prize, to be awarded at a ceremony at Buckingham Palace in June. “GPS provides an outstanding example of engineering’s profound impact on society. What started with an almost impossible challenge is now universally accessible,” said Christopher Snowden, chair of the 15-member judging panel, which includes FAPESP’s scientific director, Carlos Henrique de Brito Cruz. The winners worked for the US Department of Defense on the Navstar project in the 1960s, which launched the group of satellites used for GPS. There are now 24 in orbit at an altitude of 20,000 kilometers. In recent decades, the engineers have been honored with various awards, such as the Thomas Edison Medal, granted by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE).