While communications satellites have long been used to help travelers arrange accommodations on Earth, commercial companies are developing an ability to provide accommodations in space. On April 7, 2007, software developer Charles Simonyi, the fifth orbital “private space explorer,” launched into space for a nearly two week stay aboard the International Space Station.
In 2007, SeaMobile Enterprises, a provider of maritime voice, data, and Internet connectivity, announced a move into content delivery through a subsidiary, Wave Entertainment Network. Content comes to the ship live via SeaMobile’s Maritime Telecommunications Network, which can be cached onboard and shown in a “normal” time slot within the guest shipboard schedule.
A number of new satellite applications help cruise ships provide greater connectivity to their guests. Satellite communications have always been important to connectivity on cruise ships but the diversity of communications options to which guests have become accustomed is driving a number of innovations.
NASA announced SpaceX and Rocketplane Kistler as the winners of the COTS competition in August 2006. The goal of the competition is to develop commercial delivery services for the International Space Station (ISS), distributing research and development funds to be combined with private capital.
The U.S. space industry draws on the expertise of more than a quarter of a million Americans across the country who directly contribute to the economic health of the national economy, many state economies, and local communities.
Although new hiring statistics are not uniformly available for other major civil space programs or international companies, steady growth in the global space industry over the past five years suggests that demand for skilled S&E workers with space-relevant skills exists around the world.
The Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum is recognized as the world’s most visited museum. For 2005, a total of ## people visited the museum building on the Mall, which on average attracts more than ## million people annually, and ## visited the affiliated Udvar-Hazy Center.
From Sidebar — “Satellite imagery sales were helped along by increasing tensions in Afghanistan and then Iraq. In time, foreign purchases and major contracts for data (ClearView and NextView) from the U.S. National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) brought growth and a measure of stability to the data market. The acquisition of Space Imaging by ORBIMAGE [now known as GeoEye] has also further stabilized the industry.”
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From a sidebar — The geographical reach of VSAT technology was a prime reason why Bob Evans Farms deployed a 481-site network. The national restaurant chain teamed with Spacenet to link its retail stores and corporate headquarters to an always-on IP VSAT service. And the network was up and running in five weeks. The company looked into frame relay, DSL and ISDN service options, but chose a VSAT network because it was the only technology that could reach all locations and was the most cost-effective.