Space Products & Innovation
Governance, Education, and Infrastructure
Satellite communications enable a growing number of distance learning and tele-education programs. In 2007, the Brazilian education network, enabled by Hughes Network Systems’ HughesNet, completed rollout in the state of Amazonas.
In September 2007, a search-and-rescue mission for missing aviator Steve Fossett was aided by volunteers who never left their homes. Instead of combing forests and mountains, these searchers scanned digital satellite images provided by the commercial remote sensing firms GeoEye and DigitalGlobe for signs of Fossett’s downed plane.
In response to the tragic events at Virginia Tech in the spring of 2007, several colleges have begun distributing GPS phones with tracking devices to students.
Vehicle tracking technologies are developing in sophistication to support consumer safety applications. A number of automakers now provide in-vehicle GPS devices that can monitor location, speed, use of safety belts, and the presence of passengers.
Police use GPS technology in a number of novel applications. Embedded GPS chips are replacing exploding dye packs as a more efficient way to foil bank robbers in some U.S. cities. The practice allows officials to track stolen money with unprecedented precision.
World-class education services to rural and remote locations will continue to proliferate and stimulate economic development in those locations. The OECD’s Space 2030 recommends governments use satellites to provide services such as distance learning to rural and remote areas. India’s EDUSAT satellite, launched in 2005 with the goal of developing rural states like West Bengal by 2020, is a prime example of governments using distance learning in remote and undeveloped areas.
As we move into the future, space and the lifestyle media sector will become more closely linked. In the near future, movie companies may rely on satellites to distribute digital copies of newly released movies to theaters instead of mailing large reels of fi lm around the country. The same satellite radio signal could provide soft ware and data updates to your car while refreshing your music list on your MP3 player. Networks might begin to integrate satellite, wireless, and fiber infrastructure to provide seamless Internet and data services to rural and urban areas alike.
Europe is considering satellite navigation to enable an elimination of toll booths and increase road safety. The EU Commission envisions a toll system based on satellite navigation and mobile telecommunications systems. Galileo is intended to be the backbone of this “pay-as-you- drive” system.
Monitoring and managing land use via remote sensing satellites is likely to be increasingly important for local governments. Remote sensing data has been used for population estimation since 1960, but the methodology of modeling population and population density accurately is still the subject of academic discussion. Since restrictions in the United States were lifted in the mid-90s, the potential for further development exists for the commercial remote sensing industry.
As expressed by the OECD, space can make a valuable contribution to the challenges that may face our societies and governments in the future. Space platforms can monitor air pollution and greenhouse gases for assessment and management, as well as natural disasters, enabling effective responses. The aftermath of Hurricane Katrina showcased the use of satellite capabilities for disaster management, communications, monitoring, and search and rescue.