If You’ve Got the Time

The Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C., is slated to open an exhibit in March chronicling how timekeeping has evolved over three centuries and how it influences navigation. “Time and Navigation: The untold story of getting from here to there,” will include GPS positioning, navigation, and timing satellites as part of its coverage, states a Jan. 16 release from the 50th Space Wing at Schriever AFB, Colo. The wing’s 2nd Space Operations Squadron operates the GPS constellation; Schriever officials provided historical data on GPS for the exhibit, states the release. “The navigation and timing from GPS satellites plays such an important and often overlooked role in warfare,” said Capt. Bryony Veater, 2nd SOPS payload systems operator. As part of one exhibit section, a virtual military navigator portrait—modeled on Veater—will be featured on a large screen and will explain to visitors “how atomic clocks in GPS work and how the military uses the technology today,” said Thomas Paone, a Smithsonian technician. GPS timing functions have also become integral to the civil world for tasks like financial transactions, search and rescue, communications, farming, recreation, and commercial aviation. (Washington, D.C., report by SSgt. Robert Cloys) (See also Smithsonian exhibit webpage.)