Skip Global Navigation to Main Content
Skip Breadcrumb Navigation
Consulate Cape Town News

U.S. General Accepts Award for GPS

General William L. Shelton

General William L. Shelton, Commander, Air Force Space Command addresses the public at award ceremony hosted in Cape Town on October 4, 2011.

October 5, 2011 - “The Global Positioning System is a benefit for all mankind,” U.S. General William Shelton told the International Astronautical Federation (IAF) in Cape Town October 4, 2011.  Shelton, head of the U.S. Air Force Space Command, accepted the IAF’s 60th Anniversary Award honoring the widely-used navigational aid. 

Developed for military purposes, GPS is now critical to all forms of air transportation, maritime shipping, electrical power generation, and communications system.  In the words of the IAF, “like an open source computer operating system, [GPS'] public interface standards have enabled market-driven innovations in a wide array of applications that were not imagined by the system’s creators.” 

IAF President Berndt Feuerbacher added that “from in-car satnav to disaster relief, from cellular telephony to air traffic control, GPS is an application which is a central part of the lives of nearly every person in the world.”

Shelton thanked the IAF and accepted the honor on behalf of the hundreds of men and women, in government, private industry and academia, who helped develop the system.  Several of the most prominent contributors were present at the award ceremony.  Shelton also told the group that he is proud to accept the responsibility to serve as “steward of the GPS.” 

For more about GPS, please visit