Today’s advanced satellite technologies contribute to modern, high tech society in a myriad of ways. From accurate GPS systems to WiFi in remote locations, the electrical assemblies circulating overhead make many useful navigational and communications systems possible for people around the world. Just consider some of the incredible advances in satellite capabilities during the past five years:
One: Satellites Now Help Fight Forest Fires
Some innovative new startups have made public domain satellite information available for customers to manipulate and use in a practical way to assess forest fire risks. Now, these images help planners appreciate the full impact of deforestation in remote, hard-to-access areas of the world. During former eras, fires in some wilderness locations burned without attracting an organized response. Now environmentalists possess a powerful practical tool to use to track these incidents and assess the risks imposed on endangered plant and animal species without requiring expensive surveillance equipment to access remote areas on land.
Two: Satellites Modifiable During Orbit
A new generation of satellites allow operators on Earth to modify the satellite programs remotely while in orbit. The concept of a satellite payload subject to reconfiguration during transit holds significant implications for global satellite technologies. For example, telecommunications customers will enjoy the option of upgrading transmission capabilities for less cost.
Three: Satellites That Automatically Capture Landmark Digital Information
A new generation of satellites will automatically capture images of physical landmarks on Earth in three dimensional images without requiring any instructions transmitted to the satellite from satellite operators. The United Arab Emirates and Dubai have worked with educational institutions to develop this technology, which also allows small satellites to capture very high resolution digital images from space.
Four: Privately Owned Satellites Assist City Planners
Recently, a number of companies have launched small private satellites to collect information and market this data to cities and other entities around the world. Some of these images assist city planners in examining urban sprawl, for instance. Others monitor agricultural production. Planners can now obtain detailed information about natural disaster sites remotely. Firms such as Aquila Space, Airbus, and Planet Labs have entered this market only recently, and they now compete with governments as sources of verifiable intelligence and information.
Five: Build-Your-Own Satellites
Probably for the first time in human history, individuals, organizations and private firms now enjoy the technological capability of building and launching their own small temporary “CubeSat” satellites to fly 195 miles above the Earth for three months. These tiny containers potentially hold a variety of equipment enabling owners to gather information via digital cameras and other technologies. For instance, one organization now plans to launch a “CubeSat for Disclosure” to search for extraterrestrials.
New developments in satellite technology will likely continue during the next decade, too. These remote telecommunications stations overhead continue to showcase remarkable innovations that affect the daily lives of human beings in many places.