Space Products & Innovation
Governance, Education, and Infrastructure
Satellite rainfall data might help Indian residents save money.
Whether using multispectral imagery from satellite imagery providers such as DigitalGlobe, or synthetic aperture radar (SAR) products from satellites such as the German Aerospace Center’s (DLR) TerraSAR-X, law enforcement agencies in the United Kingdom and other countries are learning how crime-related investigations can benefit from satellite assistance. The constabulary is using SAR and imagery to reduce costs and time associated with conducting searches for hidden graves in urban locations.
There are other ways to become even more involved with space activities. Satellite imagery companies are offering opportunities for people to provide imagery analysis. Crowdsourcing has become a key approach and has resulted in websites such as DigitalGlobe’s Tomnod.[
Social media and space agency public relations worked together to bring awareness of space program activities by endowing personality to robots flying through space. “Namaste, @MarsOrbiter!” displayed a playful tenor in one of the first friendly greetings given to India’s Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) satellite from NASA’s ground-hugging Mars Curiosity rover.
The high-resolution imaging capabilities of satellites can be used to help power utilities with maintenance and planning. High rates of copper wiring theft at electrical substations motivated electricity company Dominion Virginia Power to hire DigitalGlobe Analytics for a solution. DigitalGlobe compiled satellite, air, and ground images of the electrical system and studied previous thefts to identify the next most likely targets. By improving security at these locations, which were primarily those near scrap metal businesses, copper theft was reduced by ##%.
Space exploration and utilization activities help inspire students to pursue careers in STEM fields. All the ISS partners devote some portion of their activities on the station to educational purposes. Many other space agency programs also have an outreach component. Aside from cultivating an interest in STEM, the microgravity environment of space allows students to learn about other physical phenomena in unique ways.
Satellite services are also being used by law enforcement in new ways to find and apprehend suspects. StarChase is a GPS-based pursuit management system that reduces the need for dangerous and destructive high-speed vehicle chases. Installed into the front of a law enforcement vehicle, StarChase targets and launches an adhesive GPS-enabled tracking device at fleeing suspect vehicles. Law enforcement can then track the suspect’s car at a safe distance.
Governments cooperate on the use of space assets in search and rescue missions. The Cospas-Sarsat Program is an international effort to improve search and rescue (SAR) operations by outfitting a fleet of satellites to detect radiobeacons activated by parties in distress, then using the data to locate the individuals. SAR repeaters installed on satellites of ESA’s Galileo program were tested in January 2013 for the first time, expanding the suite of satellites capable of detecting radiobeacons.