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July 17,1995


The Air Force announced today that the Global Positioning System satellite constellation has met all requirements for Full Operational Capability. FOC status means that the system meets all the requirements specified in a variety of formal performance and requirements documents.

This declaration signals the culmination of more than 20 years of research, development and implementation activities that brought the revolutionary navigation system from concept to reality. The program was created by the Department of Defense in 1973. The first GPS satellite, a Block I developmental model, was launched in February 1978.

"This is a major milestone," said Air Force Vice Chief of Staff General Thomas S. Moorman Jr. "GPS has become integral to our warfighters and is rapidly becoming a true utility' in the civilian community," he concluded.

The first launch of operational (Block II) GPS satellite in February 1989, marked the beginning of steady progress toward a full constellation of 24 satellites. That milestone was achieved in June 1993 and Initial Operational Capability was declared later that year. FOC marks the successful completion of Department of Defense testing of the 24 Block II satellites now in orbit and confirmation of their operational capabilities.

The system gained fame during Desert Storm by providing unprecedented navigational accuracy for allied air and ground forces, but it is rapidly being integrated into a wide variety of civilian uses as well according to Maj. Gen. Robert S. Dickman, director of Space Programs in the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition. "GPS is a model for dual-use' systems," said General Dickman. "It's both a force multiplier for the warfighter and a boon to the civilian sector."

GPS, operated by the 2nd Space Operation Squadron of the 50th Space Wing at Falcon Air Force Base, Colo., is a U.S. Department of Defense radionavigation system. It provides highly accurate, real-time, all-weather position, velocity, and time information to properly equipped air, land, sea and space-based military and civilian users around the world. For more information, contact Air Force Space Command Public Affairs, (719) 554-5285.


Revised date: Wednesday, May 02, 2001