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The satellite services sector, which includes fixed and mobile satellite services, registered $## billion in 2010 revenue, up from $## billion in 2009. Both types of services communicate information in video, voice, and data formats. Fixed satellite services (FSS) refer to the delivery of satellite communications to stationary ground receivers that can be moved from one location to another but do not work while in transit. Mobile satellite services provide similar capabilities but the communication link ties to mobile receivers, such as satellite telephones or in-flight communications.
Bigelow Aerospace has been working for several years to develop commercial orbital habitats using expandable modules. This approach, leveraging technology licensed from NASA, involves launching modules in a compact form and inflating them once in orbit, creating much larger volumes than would be possible with traditional metallic structures.
While mechanisms such as the PISA test reveal a cross-national focus on primary and secondary STEM competency, a more direct measure of the potential international space workforce is offered through a comparative analysis of STEM university graduates by country.
One specialized type of system that uses both satellites and ground stations is dedicated to space situational awareness (SSA). An SSA system tracks satellites and other objects orbiting Earth. This is accomplished through a series of ground stations which are dedicated to scanning the sky via a variety of means in order to detect and plot the courses of objects in space. This data is then compiled and analyzed to create a series of predictions regarding possible collisions.
An essential element of space infrastructure, ground stations transmit commands to and receive data from spacecraft. They also often contain facilities to process that data, particularly in the case of Earth observation satellites. The data sent from ground stations includes command and control data, software upgrades, and other mission-critical instructions. Satellites send information such as tracking and telemetry data in addition to imagery and scientific observations.
Ground stations are an essential but often overlooked segment of space infrastructure. Ground stations connect satellites to terrestrial networks and collect satellite information ranging from tracking and telemetry to imagery and scientific data. The stations also upload information to spacecraft, including command and control data, software upgrades, and other mission-critical instructions. Employees at some ground stations process, analyze, and distribute satellite-based data, products, and services.
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