2009 – Human Launch -Snapshot
In addition to government human spaceflight efforts, some companies are developing commercial systems for orbital human spaceflight. Several American companies have shown an interest in orbital human spaceflight to serve both government and commercial customers. SpaceX has designed its Falcon 9 launch vehicle and Dragon capsule to be able to support human missions, although that is not a requirement under the terms of the Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) program run by NASA. Orbital Sciences, the other U.S. company with a funded COTS agreement, has expressed interest in developing a crewed version of its Cygnus cargo spacecraft that would be able to carry three or four astronauts.
2009 – Disaster Charter – Snapshot
Remote sensing satellites provide data to assess the scope and impact of disasters that have occurred. The information also enables planning for the mitigation of events that may occur. The International Charter on Space and Major Disasters provides a means for relief agencies to request satellite imagery of an area affected by a disaster.
2009 – United Kingdom Government Space Budget – Snapshot
In the United Kingdom, responsibility for space activities is distributed across several agencies. Through 2009, space activities in the United Kingdom were coordinated by the British National Space Centre (BNSC), although individual agencies retain control of their own budgets. In December 2009, Britain’s Science Minister announced a decision to establish a dedicated British space agency to direct the country’s space policy, although the exact date this agency will begin to operate is unknown.
2009 – European Space Agency Budget – Snapshot
With 18 member states, ESA had a 2009 budget of €## billion (US$## billion), approximately ##% more than the 2008 budget of €## billion (US$## billion). The largest ESA funding line items are the Ariane and Vega launch vehicles, at ##% of ESA’s 2009 budget, and Earth observation activities at ##% of the budget, including projects such as the European Remote Sensing series of satellites, the Soil Moisture and Ocean Salinity satellite, and the new Sentinel series of satellites to be developed in connection with GMES.
2008 – Evolving National Space Policies
The activities of spacefaring nations increased in 2008, and the policies of those and other countries continue to evolve. These policy changes often reflect the need to fund or authorize activities in response to steps taken by other national space programs, particularly when matters of national de… This article is for subscribers. Please sign up…
2008 – Civil Space Activity
The trend of globalization in space activity continues, with nations entering into agreements to use each other’s infrastructure and space assets. Two decades ago only the United States, the Soviet Union, Europe, and China regularly launched and deployed satellites and other missions to space. Today… This article is for subscribers. Please sign up for a…
Infrared Satellite Payloads Enlisted to Combat West Nile Virus
A collaborative effort between NASA and the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) involves using satellite imagery to study and combat disease. Although this type of collaboration has occurred before, the new effort aims to formalize a training program.
Disaster Charter Provides Timely Imagery to Response Teams
One of the key challenges in a flood involves getting timely and accurate information regarding flood-affected areas. Satellite imagery can mitigate the magnitude of flood damage by providing response teams with an overall image of the flooded area.
Locating Oil Well Locations Using Gravity
In support of the oil and gas industry, a U.K.-based company has used technology from an ESA gravity mission to develop a gravity strength sensor, or gravity gradiometer, to help find the most appropriate locations for drilling and to plan further exploration.
2008 – Mobile Satellite Service (MSS) Space Activities – Snapshot
While FSS systems all operate in GEO, mobile satellite service (MSS) systems operate in a range of orbits. Some MSS operators have built their networks using a limited number of GEO satellites. In August 2008, the oldest and largest of these, Inmarsat, launched its ## Inmarsat-4 satellite, establishing global availability of its Broadband Global Area Network (BGAN) service, and bringing the fleet total to ## spacecraft. Another GEO MSS operator, ICO Global, launched its G-1 satellite in April 2008 to provide voice, data, video, and Internet service throughout the United States on mobile and portable devices.