The global satellite network is one of the stellar achievements of the 20th Century. And it is a bridge to greater progress in the 21st.
From their all-but-invisible vantage point in space, satellites deliver a stunning range of services – each depending on the ability to transmit radio frequency signals across vast distances. From earth to space and back again, distance drains the energy from these signals, requiring all our ingenuity to receive and interpret the information they contain. But interpret it we do. And every day of the year, those tenuous signals inform and educate us, feed the hungry, save lives, forecast the weather, navigate our vehicles, transact business, restore services disrupted by disaster and fill our free time with entertainment. A day without satellite would be a bad day on Earth because of all the applications that satellite provides:
Everything you see on television has spent time on a satellite.
Energy production and distribution depends heavily on satellite communications
Retailers sell products and manage inventory via satellite.
Connected transportation saves money and improves efficiency.
Precision agriculture uses data from space to boost yields.
From weather to climate change, we depend on data from space to understand our environment.
Satellite connects mobile cell towers and send map data to your phone.
Satellite delivers high-quality education to remote areas.
Military and first-responders depend on satellite to go where ground communications can't.
When disaster strikes, satellite provides the only link.
In the pages that follow, you will learn how satellites – in all of their frequency bands – support business, empower government and protect human life. At a time when there is rising competition for the radio frequencies that we use to communicate, these stories remind us how much the global economy, world security and human welfare rely on those faint signals that cross the distance from Earth to sky and back again each and every second of the year.