Space services we use every day


As you know, satellites are the unseen workhorses of a wide variety of industry sectors and services on Earth today. Their applications are vast and varied, spanning sectors from telecommunications to environmental monitoring, navigation, banking, and beyond. In this email we take a look at the diversity of sectors and applications where space-based services affect our daily lives.

In today’s interconnected world, services such as the Global Positioning System (GPS) and satellite broadband are fundamental to global communication, transportation, and information access. Their influence extends beyond individual utility; they have built or reshaped entire industries, fostering unprecedented levels of connectivity and accessibility.

However, the reach of space services isn’t limited to these well-known applications. Satellite connections infiltrate numerous other sectors including meteorology, disaster management, resource exploration, and finance.

The simple list below illustrates the myriad ways in which satellite technology bolsters our societal infrastructure, catalyzes innovation, and drives economic growth.

  • GPS and GNSS systems: used in personal navigation devices, smartphones, and many other devices to provide location and time information anywhere on or near the Earth.
  • Timing and synchronization: GPS is used for precise time stamping and synchronization for a variety of systems, from network servers to financial systems to power grids.
  • Maritime navigation: ships and maritime operators use services like GPS and the Automatic Identification System (AIS), which is a tracking system used for collision avoidance on ships. Satellite imagery is also used for detecting icebergs and other potential hazards at sea.
  • Air Traffic Control: satellites are used to communicate with aircraft and to provide surveillance in areas where ground-based radar is ineffective or impractical. This helps to make air travel safer and more efficient.
  • Satellite broadband: provides internet connectivity to remote regions where traditional cable or fiber internet connections may not reach. Also used by airlines to provide in-flight WiFi.
  • Satellite phones: these devices can make calls from virtually anywhere in the world, independent of local cellular networks, which can be crucial in remote locations or during disasters.
  • Satellite television: allows for the transmission of TV signals across large distances, making a wide variety of channels and content available worldwide.
  • Satellite radio: services such as SiriusXM provide clear, often commercial-free, radio broadcasts over large coverage areas.
  • Weather forecasting: satellites provide meteorologists with the data necessary to predict weather patterns, storm systems, and climate changes.
  • Remote sensing for oil, gas, and minerals: satellite imagery and data are used in the exploration for natural resources, helping to identify potential new deposits of oil, gas, and minerals.
  • Earth Observation (EO): this includes a wide range of services, from Google Earth and other map services that use satellite imagery, to agricultural services that monitor crop health, to services that monitor environmental conditions such as deforestation, urban growth, and the melting of ice caps.
  • Climate monitoring: satellites monitor other aspects of the Earth’s atmosphere, oceans, and land surfaces, providing critical data for climate change research and environmental monitoring. This includes tracking greenhouse gases, sea level rise, and the shrinking of polar ice.
  • Disaster management: satellites are used for early warning systems for natural disasters and for hurricanes and tsunamis, and for monitoring and coordinating responses to disasters.
  • Emergency response: services like the COSPAS-SARSAT international satellite-based search and rescue system can detect and locate emergency beacons activated by aircraft, ships, and backcountry hikers in distress.
  • Scientific research: many different types of scientific research are conducted using satellites, from studies of the Earth’s magnetosphere to the observation of distant celestial bodies.
  • Banking systems: ATMs, credit card networks, and high-speed trading systems often rely on satellite communications for connectivity, especially in remote areas.
  • Military operations: satellite technology plays a crucial role in many aspects of modern military operations, including surveillance, reconnaissance, communication, navigation, and the targeting of weapons.

This list is extensive but not exhaustive. Just by reading it you’ve probably noticed a few applications that aren’t individually listed.

As you can see – there is also a lot of overlap between different categories, and we expect that to increase in the future as more versatile systems are launched, with the capability to perform multiple different tasks and generate more than one form of data.

But hopefully this list really reinforces the importance of our growing industry and inspires you for your next mission!

And, as always, when it comes to finding the right hardware, software, and service providers for that mission – we’re always here to help.

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