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It's well known why we launch satellites near the equator, but why are the GPS control/monitor segments located near the equator at Hawaii, Ecuador, Florida, Bahrain, Ascension, Diego Garcia, Guam and Kwajalein?

For example:

enter image description here

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    Which locations and/or precise legend items from your map are you considering to be "near the equator'?
    – PolyGeo
    Commented Sep 4, 2016 at 20:31
  • Hawaii, Ecuador, Florida, Bahrain, Ascension, Diego Garcia, Guam, Kwajalein
    – michael
    Commented Sep 5, 2016 at 5:11
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    Ground antennas on the equator are more likely to have a good angle to the satellites as they vary from ~55N to ~55S ground track.
    – BradHards
    Commented Sep 5, 2016 at 5:41

2 Answers 2

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I assume that you're asking about the ground stations at Ascension, Diego Garcia and Kwajalein. The reason is pretty simple: they already housed US Air Force bases and complexes, as well as space launch tracking and ground infrastructure, and as the NAVSTAR system is operated by the AFSPC, it's only logical to place the ground stations in a place controlled and maintained by the US Air Force.

I don't think there is any technical demands to place these station as close to the equator as possible, it's rather a matter of money and military control.

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They don't seem to be 'near the equator'. Roughly georeferencing the locations of the stations and looking at the distribution of latitudes:

enter image description here

Data (very rough, but OK for these purposes):

wkt_geom    name    lon lat
Point (-152.0 61.0) Alaska  -152.0  61.0
Point (-61.6 76.4)  Greenland   -61.6   76.4
Point (-156.5 20.7) Hawaii  -156.5  20.7
Point (-121.3 35.9) Vandenburg  -121.3  35.9
Point (-103.3 37.3) Colorado    -103.3  37.3
Point (-76.1 40.3)  New Hampshire   -76.1   40.3
Point (-76.5 37.4)  Washington  -76.5   37.4
Point (-80.5 27.9)  Cape Canaveral  -80.5   27.9
Point (-78.1 1.4)   Ecuador -78.1   1.4
Point (-57.2 -34.8) Argentina   -57.2   -34.8
Point (-1.2 52.7)   UK  -1.2    52.7
Point (50.3 25.0)   Bahrain 50.3    25.0
Point (-10.4 -11.0) Ascension   -10.4   -11.0
Point (26.9 -27.9)  South Africa    26.9    -27.9
Point (127.7 35.4)  South Korea 127.7   35.4
Point (72.0 -7.2)   Diego Garcia    72.0    -7.2
Point (144.9 13.2)  Guam    144.9   13.2
Point (138.3 -33.9) Australia   138.3   -33.9
Point (172.9 -41.3) New Zealand 172.9   -41.3
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    I'd plot monitoring stations distinctly from ground antenna locations. Different functions, different geometry.
    – BradHards
    Commented Sep 5, 2016 at 6:36

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