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.
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.
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.
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.
The National Science Foundation tracks “first university degrees,” equivalent to a four-year undergraduate degree in the United States, for six countries: the ##, ##, ##, ##, ##, and the ##. In 2004, the most recent year for which data is available for all six countries, the ## was the leading country in issuing first university degrees in all fields, topping ## million, with ## in second place at ## million.
The UK Civil Space Strategy 2008-2012 and Beyond, updated in early 2008, recommends spending for climatology, Earth observation, and Disaster Monitoring Constellation (DMC) satellites. The United Kingdom’s leadership in the field of disaster monitoring continued in 2008, as DMC imagery provided vital information in regions hit by natural disasters. There are also plans to supply climate researchers with free imagery from the next generation of DMC satellites.
The European Space Agency (ESA), with 18 member states, had a 2008 budget of about €## billion (US$## billion). ESA is projecting a budget of €## billion (US$## billion) for the three years from 2009–2011. One feature of the budget will be a ##% per year growth in the agency’s basic science budget. The combined civil space spending for 2008, including both national space programs and ESA contributions of the four largest members, Germany, France, Italy, and the United Kingdom, amounted to about €## billion (US$## billion), approximately ##% of their averaged national budgets.
Military space spending among European countries in 2006 totaled $## billion (€## million), according to the European Space Policy Institute, a research institute founded and supported by European aerospace industry partners. For 2004, Euroconsult estimates non-U.S. space spending at $## billion. Countries included in this estimate are the United Kingdom, France, Russia, Germany, Belgium, Spain, Italy, and Israel. Data on international military space spending is generally held closely and difficult to find in public sources. Until better data becomes available, we will continue to use this 2004 figure as an estimate in our aggregated number.
Although new hiring statistics are not uniformly available for other major civil space programs or international companies, steady growth in the global space industry over the past five years suggests that demand for skilled S&E workers with space-relevant skills exists around the world.
The Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum is recognized as the world’s most visited museum. For 2005, a total of ## people visited the museum building on the Mall, which on average attracts more than ## million people annually, and ## visited the affiliated Udvar-Hazy Center.