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GPS pioneer Roger L. Easton inducted into National Inventors Hall of Fame


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Well, it looks like it's the season for pioneering inventors to be honored, with Chuck Thacker's recent Turing Award win now followed up by Roger L. Easton's induction into the National Inventors Hall of Fame. Pictured at left above, Easton started working at the Naval Research Laboratory in 1943, and later helped develop MINITRACK, the very first satellite tracking system, which in turn led to the concept Easton dubbed TIMATION (short for "time navigation"). That was used to aid in the launch of four experimental satellites over the course of the 1960s and 1970s, the last of which was the first satellite to fly in the GPS 12-hour orbit and the first transmit GPS signals. In fact, the relativistic offset correction Easton applied to that satellite is still used by every GPS satellite now in orbit, and it also helped to experimentally verify Einstein's theory of relativity for good measure. Easton didn't call it quits when he left the lab, however, and eventually served two terms in the New Hampshire State Assembly, and even ran for Governor in 1986.

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