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Relativity and GPS - I

Ronald R. Hatch
Year: 1995 Pages: 17
Keywords: GPS, relativity, satellites
The satellites of the global positioning system (GPS) travel around the earth in 12-hour periods in near-circular orbits. All of the satellites contain extremely precise atomic clocks whose rates depend both upon satellite velocity and altitude. An observer bound to the earth, in an airplane or in a satellite may determine his precise location by obtaining signals from several satellites simultaneously. This paper discusses the implications of GPS on Einstein's special theory of relativity. A subsequent paper will discuss the general theory.