Brad Parkinson

About Bradford Parkinson

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Parkinson is the vice-chair, U.S. PNT advisory board. Known as the “Father of GPS,” Professor Bradford Parkinson was the chief architect for GPS, and led the original advocacy for the system in 1973 as an Air Force Colonel. Gaining approval, he became the first director of the GPS Joint Program Office and led the original development of spacecraft, Master Control Station and eight types of user equipment. He continued leading through the extensive test validation program, including being the launch commander for the first GPS satellite launches. This original deployment of GPS demonstrated comfortable margins against all positioning, navigation and timing (PNT) requirements.

Earlier in his career, he was a key developer of a modernized AC-130 Gunship, introduction of which included 160 hours of combat missions. He was an instructor at the USAF Test Pilot School. In addition he led the Department of Astronautics and Computer Science at the U.S. Air Force Academy. He retired from the Air Force as a colonel.

He was appointed a professor at Stanford University in 1984, after six years of experience in industry. At Stanford, he led the development of innovative GPS applications including:
Commercial aircraft (Boeing 737) blind landing using GPS alone,
Fully automatic GPS control of farm tractors on a rough field to an accuracy of 2 inches,
Pioneering the augmentation to GPS (WAAS) that allows any user to achieve accuracies of 2 feet and very high levels of integrity assurance.
He has been the CEO of two companies and serves on many boards. He is the editor/author of the AIAA award-winning two-volume GPS Theory and Applications, and is author or coauthor of more than 80 technical papers.

Among his many awards is the Draper Prize of the National Academy of Engineering, considered by some to be the “Engineering Nobel.”

Posts by Bradford Parkinson

Toughen GPS to resist jamming and spoofing Posted on 31 Mar 2022 in the Featured Stories & From the Magazine & Latest News categories.

By Bradford W. Parkinson Aeronautics and Astronautics Professor Emeritus (recalled) Stanford University We, of the PNT universe, have been hearing a rather continual message of doom from the media regarding... Read more»

A grave threat to GPS and GNSS Posted on 16 Jan 2018 in the Featured Stories & From the Magazine & GNSS & Opinions categories.

Ligado transmitters effectively become jammers for many existing GPS receivers. I believe that this possibility is the greatest current threat to the PNT community. Read more»