Application of the satellites

Application of the satellites

The satellites are used in many application including communication, broadcasting, GPS, weather forecasting and many ways.

Weather Forecasting

Certain satellites are specifically designed to monitor the climatic conditions of earth. They continuously monitor the assigned areas of earth and predict the weather conditions of that region. This is done by taking images of earth from the satellite. These images are transferred using assigned radio frequency to the earth station. (Earth Station: it‟s a radio station located on the earth and used for relaying signals from satellites.) These satellites are exceptionally useful in predicting disasters like hurricanes, and monitor the changes in the Earth’s vegetation, sea state, ocean color, and ice fields.

Radio and TV Broadcast

These dedicated satellites are responsible for making 100s of channels across the globe available for everyone. They are also responsible for broadcasting live matches, news, world-wide radio services. These satellites require a 30-40 cm sized dish to make these channels available globally.

Military Satellites

These satellites are often used for gathering intelligence, as a communications satellite used for military purposes, or as a military weapon. A satellite by itself is neither military nor civil. It is the kind of payload it carries that enables one to arrive at a decision regarding its military or civilian character.

Navigation Satellites

The system allows for precise localization world-wide, and with some additional techniques, the precision is in the range of some meters. Ships and aircraft rely on GPS as an addition to traditional navigation systems. Many vehicles come with installed GPS receivers. This system is also used, e.g., for fleet management of trucks or for vehicle localization in case of theft.

Global Telephone

One of the first applications of satellites for communication was the establishment of international telephone backbones. Instead of using cables it was sometimes faster to launch a new satellite. But, fiber optic cables are still replacing satellite communication across long distance as in fiber optic cable, light is used instead of radio frequency, hence making the communication much faster (and of course, reducing the delay caused due to the amount of distance a signal needs to travel before reaching the destination.). Using satellites, to typically reach a distance approximately 10,000 kms away, the signal needs to travel almost 72,000 kms, that is, sending data from ground to satellite and (mostly) from satellite to another location on earth. This cause‟s substantial amount of delay and this delay becomes more prominent for users during voice calls.

Connecting Remote Areas

Due to their geographical location many places all over the world do not have direct wired connection to the telephone network or the internet (e.g., researchers on Antarctica) or because of the current state of the infrastructure of a country. Here the satellite provides a complete coverage and (generally) there is one satellite always present across a horizon.

Global Mobile Communication

The basic purpose of satellites for mobile communication is to extend the area of coverage. Cellular phone systems, such as AMPS and GSM (and their successors) do not cover all parts of a country. Areas that are not covered usually have low population where it is too expensive to install a base station. With the integration of satellite communication, however, the mobile phone can switch to satellites offering world-wide connectivity to a customer.

Satellites cover a certain area on the earth. This area is termed as a „footprint‟ of that satellite. Within the footprint, communication with that satellite is possible for mobile users. These users communicate using a Mobile-User-Link (MUL). The base-stations communicate with satellites using a Gateway-Link (GWL). Sometimes it becomes necessary for satellite to create a communication link between users belonging to two different footprints. Here the satellites send signals to each other and this is done using Inter-Satellite-Link (ISL).