The United States owns and operates the Global Positioning System, a service that provides users with positional, navigational, and timing (or simply PNT) information, an incredibly useful service for helping people with no sense of direction get from point A to B, among many other things. The GPS system is actually in three parts. First, there’s the space-based segment consisting of satellites in Earth orbit that transmit signals, a network maintained and controlled by the US Air Force. Then there is the control segment consisting of ground stations that monitor the satellites’ positions and orbits, also managed by the USAF. And finally there’s the user segment, the device like your smartphone that receives the signals transmitted from the satellites and turns that data into positional information displayed to the user.
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