It has been helping scientists find answers to the unknown, aiding companies like VISA incorporation to spread around the globe, and assisting tourists finding their way when they become lost. The world has profited from artificial satellites since 1951, when Russia launched the first man made satellite called Sputnik I in outer-space to sail where nothing had sailed before. Today, satellites have become so widely used that some of them have become Royalty Free available to civilians around the globe with over 150 countries funding them. With over 2200 operational satellites orbiting the Earth, one has to wonder how do people profit from artificial satellites in everyday life? If we wish to understand why artificial satellites are so useful, the contributions of each type of satellites will have to be outlined starting with satellites’ part of the Global Positioning system (GPS), Reconnaissance Satellites, and finally Telecommunications Satellites.
The Global Positioning System provides users with accurate information about their latitude, longitude, velocity and altitude, as well as the time, anywhere in the world and works in all weather conditions. The GPS was initiated in 1973 by Navstar in the United States and then followed by the Soviet Union with their own GPS. Both GPS systems are free to use by anyone around the world and offers great benefits to the military, commercial companies and civilian residents.
On the military side, the U.S. Air Force uses the GPS to test unmanned prototype aircrafts like the X-22, which can prevent unnecessary human casualties. The GPS is also used in military submarines, Reconnaissance vehicles, jets and carriers to constantly be able to track their location and instantly know if one of the above is in trouble. For example, if a submarines nuclear plant fails and causes the submarine to slowly sink uncontrollably, the military would know within seconds that the submarine is having technical trouble because of the sudden drop in depth. Of course the military are not the only ones taking advantage of this system, commercial companies have found various new applications for the GPS such as vehicle anti-theft devices where the companies can constantly monitor the location of cars when they get stolen! The police uses the GPS to monitor the location of each police cars to know which one are the closest to a certain address making them able to radio the appropriate vehicle when an emergency merges. Even civilians are now finding out the full potential of the GPS. If you are a tourist, a fisherman, or in a large forest and get lost, new GPS monitors include detailed maps of regions across the world and helps you find your way back home. Popular Science magazine states that now users can log on from home or other remote locations via their personal computers to access the Global Positioning System (Dunne, 32) and this is exactly what environmentalists are doing to be able to keep track of endangered species and to keep them away from hostile territories. The Popular Mechanics magazine says that the GPS has changed the way people navigate the oceans, the skies and land, as well as touched our lives any many other ways, from agriculture, to the construction and maintenance of our infrastructure (Wilson, 64). Although a very efficient system that can be benefited from, the Reconnaissance Satellites offers further benefits to earthlings.
Reconnaissance Satellites are the closest to earth. These satellites are equipped with high resolution cameras which can be utilized in multipurpose applications. There are various types of Reconnaissance Satellites: there are the basic models which are used for photography; then there are more sophisticated models called spy satellites which are capable of capturing motion pictures from Earths surface; and finally there are the media satellites equipped with special sensors such as heat, infrared and ultra-violet sensors. Each type of satellite has its own set of applications, and benefits humankind in many ways.
The most basic models for instance, helps scientists learn what happened billions of years ago to our planet, how our solar system was born, the depth and activity of volcanoes around the world, and much more. Astronomers who also use the basic models can take pictures of Earth, nearby planets and faraway solar systems to study them and be able to determine facts such as if life is possible or exists anywhere else in the galaxy, what are black holes and to discover new planets galaxies far, far away. Spying satellites on the other hand are usually operated by spy agencies to browse for illegal activities such as drug smuggling. Some commercial companies that have access to spy satellites can offer added security by scanning the surfaces of airlines and larger companies for abnormal activities. Media satellites also have also proved to be useful to countries around the world. By taking a series of heat seeking photos, the forecasters can look at the movement of the clouds as well as the air temperatures on Earth and predict the future climate. These same satellites can also help researchers find rare types of insects throughout a country by searching specific heat and radioactive patterns. With worldwide GPS and Reconnaissance Satellites comes a need for world wide communication, and this is where satellites built just for that come in handy.
The most common satellites in space are the Telecommunications Satellites. Capable of transferring massive amounts of data at a time, they are without a doubt the most widely employed satellites in the world. Similarly to GPS, Telecommunication Satellites are broadly used by the military, commercial companies and civilian residents.
The people who build up the military know that communication is everything during drills and therefore can take advantage of the great advantages that Telecommunication Satellites brings to the table. For instance, a pilot attempting to land a F-16 Falcon during a drill session requires undisrupted communication between him and the control tower, which is handled by military Telecommunication Satellites. In commerce, communication is just as important and can benefit the entire world. The Internet is a great example of how satellites are able relay hundreds of countries in one single network and whether you are researching information on Egypt, online shopping in a Japanese site, or looking for television listings, it is the satellites which are doing all the hard work of transferring the information from one place to another with short delay. The satellites which makes the Internet global are free to access by anyone and thus offers great opportunities for anyone including non-profit organizations. Net Zero, a free Internet provider says that almost anyone with a satellite dish or a modem who resides in the United States can access the Internet for free (Eisenstein) Even private companies with multiple office buildings can enjoy satellite relays to each one of the buildings to share databases, teleconferencing and more. Even civilian residents can take advantage of the potential of Telecommunication Satellites. Most FM Stereo radio bands are broadcasted from coast to coast satellite networks such as CHUM which broadcasts 93.9FM and 104.1FM and thousands more all over North America. Voice transfers from cellular phones are also transported by satellites to the proper telephone relay stations. Residents in Canada can benefit from Telecommunication Satellites with free satellite television including all the Canadian channels available such as CTV, SRC and Muchmusic. Hence satellites have made their way from small space agencies to the whole Wide World.
In conclusion, the Global Positioning System, Reconnaissance Satellites and Telecommunication Satellites have done nothing but contributing to the lives of millions of people around the world. Today, nothing is simpler than to dial a friend across the Atlantic, which is just one out of thousands of benefits people profit from each day from various types of satellites. As technology advances, new types of satellites will be put into orbit to offer its services to the minds of millions. Because of the GPS system, it is virtually impossible to get lost. Reconnaissance Satellites helps the police to get rid of the terrorists of the universe and Telecommunication Satellites brings the news on television each day to millions of homes. This essay covers just a brief overview of the thousands of different applications that satellites have to offer in our everyday life. Satellites have truly contributed to making the World a better place to live.
Works Cited / Bibliography
Chum Satellite Network, (1998), (Online), address: http://www.chum.ca/about/about1.htm
DiChristina, Mariette, Highway Through Space, in Popular Science, November 1999, p.67.
Dunne, William, Mapping Out the Digital World, in Popular Science, January 1999, p. 32.
Eisenstein, Robert, Net Zero Commercial Announcement, (1999), (Online), address: http://intranet.taima.net/TechSupport/NetZero/main.shml
GPS, Global Positioning Satellite, Satellite, Sputnik, in Microsoft Bookshelf 1998, CD-ROM, The Encarta 98 Desk Encyclopedia, 1998.
How Do Satellites Function, (1997), (Online), address: http://www.yak.be/Pages/GPS.html
Jim Wilson, Cheap Space, in Popular Mechanics, Satellite Superiority, August 1994, p. 64.
Satellite, in Funk ; Wagnalls New Encyclopedia, U.S., Donnelley ; Sons Company, n.d.
Satellite Presentation, (2000), (Online), address: http://www.mygale.org/smeys/main.htm