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6 March 1997
For Immediate Release

Applied Physics Laboratory Receives Acquisition Innovation Award for Transit Satellite Work

The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL), Laurel, Md., has received a Defense Certificate of Recognition for Acquisition Innovation for its achievements in the Transit Navy Navigation Satellite Program.

Presented by the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Research, Development and Acquisition, the award is one of only two Defense Certificates of Recognition given out in a community of more than 41,000 who were eligible. The Navy also presented 1,300 acquisition excellence awards.

The Certificate is a Department of Defense-level award that cites APL for its "many significant innovation actions associated with the acquisition of the Transit system." The citation says that the use of a single technical agent throughout the program's entire life was a key to long-term success and that as the system evolved over 30 years of operation, "hardware upgrades to the tracking system were required only three times."

APL has been invited to exhibit Transit history and accomplishments in the Acquisition/Innovation Hall of Fame in the Pentagon.

Transit started in October 1957 just days after the Soviets launched Sputnik and APL scientists found they could determine its location in orbit from the Doppler shift of its radio signals. This discovery was turned into the Transit system in which ships could fix their position anywhere in the world, night or day, from signals transmitted from satellites passing overhead. The Navy began using Transit in 1964, and in 1967 the system was released for public and commercial use by ships of all friendly nations.

The Transit system officially retired from Navy navigation service in December 1996 after more than 32 years of continuous, successful operation. Navy ships now navigate with signals from DoD's Global Positioning System (GPS).

The Applied Physics Laboratory is a not-for-profit laboratory and independent division of The Johns Hopkins University. APL conducts research and development primarily for national security and for non-defense projects of national and global significance. Located midway between Baltimore and Washington, D.C., in Laurel, Md., APL employs 2,600 permanent staff.

For more information, contact APL Public Information Officer Helen Worth; phone: 240-228-5113 or 410-778-5113.