Satellite improves life

Engr Sabir Hussain

Satellites orbit above us in space, but they are supporting more than 7 billion people down on the surface of the Earth. Undoubtedly, space technology has evolved rapidly and the  number of satellites around the Earth is growing. It provides incredible benefits and opportunities to the world. The prominent fields which are revolutionized via satellite technology are agriculture, climate, navigation, communication, entertainment, online shopping, earth observations, and astronomy.

Satellites provide near real-time data for monitoring farms. In addition, remote sensing satellites provide us with detailed information and rainfall assessments. This allows farmers to better manage their harvest and livestock. To predict weather, satellites are constantly collecting data on the Earth like temperature, precipitation, cloud movement, and wind direction. This makes it easier for us to decide what to wear  and whether to go for outing or not. Most importantly, understand the likelihood of getting caught in the rain or cold.

Apart from this, navigation is used for estimating the position of a vehicle on sea, in air or space and on land to ensure that the chosen route is followed accurately, both in the short and long term. Short term navigation is required for making instantaneous changes in direction, speed, and acceleration to avoid an obstacle, and long-term navigation is used for making a general correction to a route.

Very early in the Space Age, researchers realized that constellations of satellites could be put in orbit to permit ships, aircrafts, or other vehicles to precisely determine their locations. Global Positioning System (GPS) satellites enable us to pinpoint our exact location on our smart phones which helps us navigate traffic congestion and navigate our destination. Thus, to obtain the precise position of airplanes in the sky, airplanes transmit a signal to a constellation of satellites. With these coordinates, air traffic controllers can ensure the safety of flying aircrafts.

Furthermore, communicating and connecting with those overseas, interstate or in remote areas were never so easy in the past. Satellites are used to connect people to the internet in the most regional and remote locations. This means no matter where you are, you can remain connected with your friends, family, and community. Moreover, satellites play a key role in bringing us the entertainment we know and love. This includes radio and television. Satellites keep us up-to-date with the news and allow us to listen/watch our favorite radio programs, TV shows and sporting games from around the globe.

In this digital age, it is satisfying that we have the option to shop from our homes. Satellites allow us to support our favorite local retailer online. They link the business with your bank to make a successful transaction. Similarly, satellite images enable broad and efficient monitoring of reservoir water levels, providing early warning of shortages and uniform data across different countries that share water resources, increasing transparency and consistency in water delivery. Also, satellite images can help track and stop illegal fishing by pairing vessel Automatic Identification System (AIS).

Other type of satellites is the astronomical satellites that are used for observation of planets, galaxies, and other outer space objects. For instance, astronomy satellite is big telescope floating in space as it is in orbit above the Earth, and thus to get clear vision which is not clouded by the gases included in the Earth’s atmosphere. Also, these types of satellites really benefit the scientific research done about the outer space planets, galaxies, stars, and other objects. In addition, astronomical satellites use the infrared imaging equipment to get clear images away from the heat of the Earth. These types of satellites can take images of space upto 10 times better than a telescope of similar strength on Earth.

In conclusion, satellites play a vital role in today’s era and allow us to predict correct scientific findings which influence our lives positively. Thus, space study and satellite-based monitoring systems should be made an essential part of the curriculum.

The writer is a satellite engineer by profession. He did B.Sc Electrical Engineering (Telecom) from the COMSATS University, Lahore Campus and M.Phil in Space Science from the University of Panjab, Lahore. He can be contacted at:

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