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Ashtech History


Sercel an electronics company in France starts the radiopositioning business using land based UHF transmiters at the time.

NAVSTAR (Navigation System with Timing And Ranging), now known as GPS (Global Positioning System), launched by U.S. Department of Defense.

First GLONASS satellites launched by the Russian Federation Ministry of Defense.

GPS declassified by President Reagan moves from pure military effort to public project.

First European GPS receiver developed by Sercel.

Magellan Systems Corporation consumer GPS company founded in California.

Ashtech Corporation, a professional products GPS company, is founded in California.

Magellan NAV 1000 introduced as the world’s first handheld GPS receiver.

Full constellation of 24 GPS satellites in orbit; system declared fully operational.

Sercel sells its radio-positioning division to Dassault Electronique which becomes Dassault Sercel Navigation Positioning.
U.S. President Clinton authorizes SA to be phased out to provide civilians worldwide with greater GPS accuracy.

Magellan Systems merges with Ashtech Corporation to become Magellan Corporation.

Dassault Electronique becomes full owner of Dassault Sercel N.P.

Dassault Electronique merges with Thomson-CSF (to become Thales later).
Following merger, Dassault Sercel Navigation Positioning becomes DSNP.

Selective Availability phased out. Civilians can now achieve 10-15 meter accuracy, compared to the previously available 100-meter accuracy.
This is a major win for the GPS industry and for GPS consumers.

As a wholly-owned subsidiary of newly Thales Group, DSNP changes its name to Thales Navigation, S.A.
Thales Group acquires Magellan Corporation, merges it with Thales Navigation, S.A. to form Thales Navigation, a global GPS leader.
Ashtech and DSNP divisions regrouping forces in the professional part of the company.


Thales Navigation is acquired by a group of investors led by Shah Capital Partners. Company is renamed Magellan. Magellan Professional becomes the official brand for professional products.

Shah Capital Partners sold consumer products division (Magellan) to MITAC. Professional products division remains with Shah Capital Partners.


Magellan Professional re-born as Ashtech. All group companies and brand renamed Ashtech.

Ashtech sold to Trimble and now part of Spectra Precision.