Brad Parkinson

Biography

<p>As a colonel in the U.S.&nbsp;Air Force, Parkinson was selected in 1972 to lead a program to develop a new space-based navigation system. He was named chief architect the following year to design GPS and served as the first director of the Joint-Services GPS Development Program Office, part of the Department of Defense.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>All segments of the GPS system were designed and prototyped under Parkinson&rsquo;s leadership. The first GPS satellites were produced and launched by 1977. A ground control system was developed under Parkinson&rsquo;s watch and deployed to upload satellite data.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>He retired from the Air Force in 1978 and joined Colorado State University, in Fort Collins, as a professor of mechanical engineering. From 1980 to 1984 he was vice president and general manager of Intermetrics, a software company in Cambridge, MA.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>He joined Stanford in 1984 as a professor of aeronautics and astronautics. He also served as a principal investigator and program manager of the NASA/Stanford relativity gyroscope experiment. The project led to the first successful test to validate Einstein&rsquo;s general theory of relativity using orbiting gyroscopes, which were launched into space in 2004. The researchers used GPS for precision orbit control and measurement.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Parkinson is now professor emeritus in Stanford&rsquo;s aeronautics and astronautics department and a researcher at the university&rsquo;s W.W.&nbsp;Hansen Experimental Physics Lab.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>He has written more than 50&nbsp;papers on guidance, navigation, and control, and he is coeditor of the two-volume book&nbsp;<em>Global Positioning System Theory and Applications</em>.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>A member of the National Academy of Engineering, he received the 2016 Marconi Award, the 2003 Charles Stark Draper Prize, and several honors from IEEE, NASA, and other organizations.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>In 2018, Parkinson won the IEEE Medal of Honor, the IEEE's most prestigious award.</p>



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