Manpack Global Positioning System (GPS) Receiver

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The Global Positioning System (GPS) consists of NAVSTAR satellites in earth orbit that send signals to receivers on land, sea, or in the air. The system became operational in 1978. Its military usefulness was demonstrated during Operation Desert Storm (1991), when coalition troops with receivers were able to navigate quickly and with great precision in the relatively featureless desert, thus having a significant tactical advantage over Iraqi forces. Collins Defense Communications, a subsidiary of Rockwell International, developed this GPS receiver (AN/PSN-8) for the U.S. military and delivered 1,400 units to the Department of Defense between 1988 and 1993. Although termed the "Manpack," it weighed 17 pounds and thus was often strapped to a truck or a helicopter. Each unit cost $45,000.
date made
U.S. Department of Defense
Collins Avionics & Communications Division of Rockwell International
place made
United States: Iowa, Cedar Rapids
overall: 40 cm x 38 cm x 14 cm; 15 3/4 in x 14 15/16 in x 5 1/2 in
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Credit Line
Gift of Collins Avionics & Communications Division
related event
Operation Desert Storm
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Physical Sciences
Measuring & Mapping
Time and Navigation
Time and Navigation, National Air and Space Museum
Data Source
National Museum of American History


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