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Infrastructure

Infrastructure

Space infrastructure is a fundamental prerequisite for all activities that make use of space. It comprises all the hardware, software, and operators responsible for creating and supporting the construction, launch, and deployment of spacecraft. Recent years have seen a substantial broadening of the parties involved in building infrastructure: new spaceports are being proposed and developed, the number of small satellites has risen dramatically (often operated by startup companies), and launch companies are developing a wide variety of rockets to serve the entire range of spacecraft sizes currently in use. Although it is unlikely that all of the current ventures will prove successful in both a technical and economic sense, there are many reasons to expect that the industry will benefit overall from the new capabilities that flourish in the years to come.


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Over 20 years of global launch activities are covered in this section. With a total of ## orbital launch attempts worldwide, 2015 fell slightly short of 2014's record of ##. A slight dip in launch activity growth trend was observed, with three failures out of ## launch attempts. During the year,...
Satellites include a wide variety of systems performing an even wider range of missions from their different orbits. In 2015, launch operators attempted to place ### spacecraft into orbit (including both satellites and other types of payloads), a decrease of ##% from ### spacecraft in 2014. The...
Constellations of communications satellites have been in use since the 1990s, and several companies are either in the midst of deploying second-generation constellations or completely new ones. Globalstar, Iridium, and Orbcomm were the first three major companies to create this type of...
Learning about the Earth, its climate, and the impacts of human activities upon it continued to drive launches of Earth observation and remote sensing satellites in 2015. Earth observation/remote sensing satellites accounted for ##% of all spacecraft launched or deployed during 2015. One...
Missile detection and warning satellites, a type of system first launched into orbit more than forty years ago, are used to monitor potential threats on a global scale. They provide a very high vantage point, using complex systems and technologies to provide notification of possible hostile...
The number of positioning, navigation, and timing (PNT) satellites orbiting the Earth increased by ##% from the end of 2014 through 2015. Of the ## nations fielding space-based PNT satellites or systems, the biggest contributors to the number of satellites in 2015 were the European Union and China....
In simplest terms, space situational awareness (SSA) is knowing what is happening, or possibly may happen, in the space around an object or point. For many organizations, such as the U.S. Strategic Command (USSTRATCOM), SSA is decidedly near-Earth focused, encompassing intelligence, surveillance,...
Developing new and improved technologies is essential for the continued evolution of all aspects of space infrastructure. Advancements in technology can provide new capabilities that did not previously exist, and improve the cost, reliability, performance, and other essential attributes of existing...

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