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Satellites affect our lives every day, and we often don’t even realize it. They make our lives safer, more convenient, and provide entertainment.
Satellites send television signals directly to homes, but they also are the backbone of cable and network TV.
Satellites provide in-flight phone communications on airplanes, and are often the main conduit of voice communication for rural areas and areas where phone lines are damaged after a disaster. Satellites also provide the primary timing source for cell phones.
Satellite-based navigation systems like the Navstar Global Positioning Systems (known colloquially as GPS) enable anyone with a handheld receiver to determine her location to within a few meters.
Business & Finance
Communications satellites have the ability to rapidly communicate between a number of widely dispersed locations. This is an important tool, allowing big manufacturing companies and department stores to perform inventory management, provide instant credit card authorization and automated teller banking services to even small towns, pay-at-the-pump gas at freeway gas stations, and video conferencing for international corporations.
Satellites provide meteorologists with the ability to see weather on a global scale, allowing them to follow the effects of phenomena like volcanic eruptions and burning gas and oil fields, to the development of large systems like hurricanes.
Climate and Environmental Monitoring
Satellites are some of the best sources of data for climate change research. Satellites monitor ocean temperatures and prevailing currents; data acquired by satellite-borne radars were able to show sea levels have been rising by three mm a year over the last decade. Imaging satellites can measure the changing sizes of glaciers, which is difficult to do from the ground due to the remoteness and darkness of the polar regions. Satellites can determine long-term patterns of rainfall, vegetation cover, and emissions of greenhouse gases.
Earth observation satellites can monitor ocean and wind currents as well as the extent of forest fires, oil spills, and airborne pollution; together this information helps organize emergency responders and environmental cleanup. Satellites can take the “search” out of “search and rescue” for people in distress in remote regions. Distress radio beacons directly linked to a search and rescue satellite can lead rescuers quickly and accurately to a land, sea, or air emergency location.
Satellites can detect underground water and mineral sources; monitor the transfer of nutrients and contaminants from land into waterways; and measure land and water temperatures, the growth of algae in seas, and the erosion of topsoil from land.
Satellites are increasingly important to the developing world. For a country like India, with populations separated by rough terrain and different languages, communications satellites provides remote populations access to education and to medical expertise that would otherwise not reach them.
Before the Space Age, astrophysicists were limited to studying the universe via ground-based telescopes, and so could only use information from the parts of the electromagnetic spectrum that penetrated the Earth’s atmosphere. Many of the most interesting phenomena are best studied at frequencies that are best or only accessible from space—satellite telescopes have been critical to understanding phenomena like pulsars and black holes as well as measuring the age of the universe.
Apart from all the satellites orbiting around the earth, space exploration also creates by products in space such as space junk, space debris, trash.
With every satellite launch, something if not everything from the journey gets left in space. These objects can range from small fragments, to huge depleted boosters and even larger De-commissioned satellites.
A Chinese anti-satellite missile exploded a De-commissioned satellite sending 150,000 particles of debris into orbit, and a mid-space satellite collision threw thousands more bits of debris into orbit.
In order for the objects to maintain an orbit around Earth they must travel around 20 times the speed of sound (18,000 mph or 28,968 kph).
With all of these different objects among crowd of billion dollar satellite equipment traveling at equal speeds and it not only threatens to create mechanical damage to existing satellites but also threatens to cause human inconvenience with the loss of wireless communication.
Without regulation the collection of space junk around Earth could reach a density to which a cloud may form that will diminish the intensity of the sun as it orbits the Earth.