Broadcast 1025 (Special Edition)

The Space Foundation Conference

28 Sep 2008 Richard Easton, Roger Easton
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Guests: Roger Easton and his son Richard Easton were the guests for this Space Show program. Roger Easton was the designer of the Vanguard 1 satellite, which was key to the Vanguard project, and was the person who conceived, patented, and led the development of critical enabling technologies for the US GPS system. He was also the recipient of the National Medal of Technology which was awarded to him in November 2005. We started the discussion with Roger Easton about Vanguard and the precursor program, the Viking Sounding Rocket program. Roger shared with us details about these programs from his memory and experience. Richard supplemented when necessary and also shared with us details of his related research. We discussed Vanguard and Viking for Segment 1, switching over to GPS after the first break. Here we talked about timation, the NRL, the formation of GPS, its challenges, its future, and competition. We talked about various atomic clocks and listeners asked for details. We went back in time to the Naval Space Surveillance System and the early experiments with timation involving the main observatory in the UK. Later in the show, a listener asked if there might be roots to GPS in science fiction writing, Richard said he found a weak reference to it in an 1860's book, so listen to this part carefully. We also talked about accuracy in reporting and Richard suggested that maybe up to 60% of what is written about these subjects is inaccurate! Our discussion with Roger Easton was broad and wide-ranging and it was an honor to talk to him and have this show as part of his Oral History. Special thanks to son Richard for helping us to set this up. We send our appreciation to Roger and his peers for their service to our nation and space and rocket programs. If you have a question or comment for either Roger or Richard Easton, please send it to me at and I will forward it to them both.



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