More than ## missions carrying scientific instruments, in the form of probes and rovers, have been launched into the solar system to study planets, comets, asteroids, and other phenomena. These instruments return valuable scientific data on the history and nature of the solar system. Recently, NASA launched the New Horizons probe in January 2006 to study Pluto.
World-class education services to rural and remote locations will continue to proliferate and stimulate economic development in those locations. The OECD’s Space 2030 recommends governments use satellites to provide services such as distance learning to rural and remote areas. India’s EDUSAT satellite, launched in 2005 with the goal of developing rural states like West Bengal by 2020, is a prime example of governments using distance learning in remote and undeveloped areas.
Retail stores themselves have been increasing the use of “digital signage,” in-store TV or radio content that features programming and advertisements produced exclusively for viewing in the store.
Inventory management is a crucial element to the profitability of retail stores, and this process has come to incorporate satellite capabilities at critical moments. The most sophisticated retail outlets collaborate closely with their suppliers; for instance, when a Proctor & Gamble item is scanned for purchase at a retail store, a message is sent via satellite uplink to the factory.
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According to OECD’s Space 2030, satellites have the ability to reduce the digital divide and provide telecommunication infrastructure, opening markets for e-commerce. E-commerce applications are well established and expanding broadband networks via satellites is likely to have a strong effect on the economy and electronic trade in the near future.
As we move into the future, space and the lifestyle media sector will become more closely linked. In the near future, movie companies may rely on satellites to distribute digital copies of newly released movies to theaters instead of mailing large reels of fi lm around the country. The same satellite radio signal could provide soft ware and data updates to your car while refreshing your music list on your MP3 player. Networks might begin to integrate satellite, wireless, and fiber infrastructure to provide seamless Internet and data services to rural and urban areas alike.
Satellite signals also carry television content, directly and indirectly, to viewers. Companies, such as DIRECTV, broadcast television stations to more than 27 million household subscribers, who use small satellite dishes to access the television content directly.
The distribution of creative content and information is enhanced, and sometimes uniquely possible, through the use of communications satellites. In addition, the convergence of digital media is creating novel user applications with satellite and space-terrestrial hybrid networks.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) also is working on a satellite wireless communications system which will allow mobile e-mail and voice communications to operate if the cellular infrastructure is compromised.