IEEE Awards Booklet - 2018 - 18

2018 ieee medal of honor

IEEE Medal of Honor
Sponsored by the IEEE Foundation

Bradford W. Parkinson

For fundamental contributions to and leadership in developing the design and driving
the early applications of the Global Positioning System

A

visionary leader in academia, industry, and the U.S. military,
Bradford W. Parkinson's role in developing and advancing
the Global Positioning System (GPS) has provided the
world with technology we now take for granted and that impacts
virtually all aspects of modern living. GPS has become an engine
of economic development and the basis for countless applications that rely on accurate positioning and timing information.
Parkinson was the chief architect of this satellite-based navigation system that works in any weather condition, anywhere in
the world, 24 hours a day, to let us know precisely where we
are-whether on land, at sea, or in the air. As a Colonel in the
U.S. Air Force in 1973, Parkinson led the efforts to gain government approval of GPS and served as the first director of the GPS
Joint Program Office.While GPS was originally funded solely by
the military, Parkinson insured that certain GPS signals would be
freely available for civil applications. Under his leadership, the
GPS satellites were produced and launched in 44 months. Simultaneously, a ground control system was developed and deployed
to upload the satellites. Also developed were eight different kinds
of user equipment to demonstrate the capabilities of the new
system, and Parkinson led extensive tests to confirm that GPS
could meet its goals.
As a professor at Stanford University, Parkinson participated in
the development of many innovative applications for GPS while
leading a research group within the Center for Positioning, Navigation, and Time. His group successfully modified a commercial
Boeing 737 for robotic aircraft landings. In 1992, this plane made
110 fully "blind" landings using GPS alone. They also developed

the first precision robotic farm tractor controlled to an accuracy
of approximately 2 inches on a rough field. This initiated the era
of "autofarming" that is now a US$900 million-a-year worldwide market. The group also created the Wide Area Augmentation System (WASS) intended to enable aircraft to rely on GPS
for all phases of flight, including precision approaches to any airport within its coverage area.WAAS can also improve accuracy of
personal GPS devices. Parkinson also served as coprincipal investigator and program manager of the NASA/Stanford Relativity
Gyroscope Experiment, which validated Einstein's general theory
of relativity using orbiting gyroscopes.With GPS providing precision orbit control and measurement, the experiment verified two
effects of general relativity never before tested with a mechanical
apparatus.
Parkinson's technical, program management, and political expertise made the initial configuration of GPS a reality. He then
worked tirelessly to ensure that GPS remains an effective and reliable military capability as well as a precise and reliable international utility supporting an ever-increasing array of civil applications.
Today's mobile Long-Term Evolution (LTE) communications
technology is essentially dependent on high-precision GPS timing for its operation. GPS is also integral to providing emergency
services; marine, air, and automotive navigation; weather forecasting and tracking; and surveying and mapping applications.
An IEEE Life Fellow and corecipient of the 2003 Charles
Stark Draper Prize, Parkinson is the Edward C. Wells Professor
of Aeronautics and Astronautics Emeritus at Stanford University,
Stanford, CA, USA.

Scope: For an exceptional contribution or an extraordinary career in the IEEE fields of interest.
18 | 2018 IEEE awards bookLET


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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of IEEE Awards Booklet - 2018

Table of Contents
IEEE Awards Booklet - 2018 - Cover1
IEEE Awards Booklet - 2018 - Cover2
IEEE Awards Booklet - 2018 - 1
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IEEE Awards Booklet - 2018 - Table of Contents
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IEEE Awards Booklet - 2018 - Cover3
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