November 4, 2003 by

Ivan Getting

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Categories: Scientists

igetting.jpgIvan A. Getting, the scientist who developed the Navstar Global Positioning System (GPS), died on Oct. 11. Cause of death was not released. He was 91.
Getting attended the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and earned a doctorate in astrophysics as a Rhodes scholar at Oxford University. During World War II, he worked as the director of the Division of Fire Control and Army Radar at the MIT Radiation Laboratory. His team created the microwave radar systems that helped the Allies down 95 percent of the German V-1 cruise bombs used against England.
During the Cold War, Getting taught in MIT’s electrical engineering department and oversaw the development of the Sparrow III and Hawk missile systems at Raytheon. He was also part of NASA’s Gemini and Mercury space programs, and the founding president of the military research company, The Aerospace Corp.
But Getting was best known as the physicist who envisioned GPS, a system that uses satellite technology to pinpoint locations on Earth. Originally designed for the military, the application was eventually reproduced in systems that aid sailors, fishermen, search crews and hikers.
In 1978, Getting served as the president of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineering. For his scientific contributions, he received the President’s Medal of Merit, an Air Force Exceptional Service Award, the Kitty Hawk Award, the Department of Defense Medal for Distinguished Public Service and the John Fritz Medal. He was also inducted into the Air Force Space and Missile Pioneers Hall of Fame at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs.

One Response to Ivan Getting

  1. elmer f. secker

    A great man, I lucky enough to know him for about 14 years prior to his death. He always had interesting things to tell me about his life. Just read some of the things about him on the web. I was also lucky enough to marry his only daughter! What an exciting life he had…and earned. elmer f. secker

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