Let's take a look up and assess some of the advanced technology in orbit and the diverse tasks of those satellites.
Satellites on the cheap
Small, inexpensive cube-shaped satellites could be all the space rage if researchers have their way. The National Science Foundation is the US has awarded a grant to SRI International to tackle the first mission of tiny flying devices known as CubeSats.
CubeSats are tiny satellites with dimensions of100x100x100mm, weighing about 1kg and typically using commercial, off-the-shelf electronic components.
Developed through joint efforts from the California Polytechnic State University and Stanford University, CubeSats are expected to offer a cost-effective way of supporting space weather and atmospheric research, the NSF said.
The GPS quandary
The Global Positioning System satellites aren't new but they've certainly had their share of bad publicity this year. Most recently a report in May that said the current GPS satellite coverage may not be so ubiquitous in the future.
According to that report the US Air Force has struggled to successfully build GPS satellites within cost and schedule goals; it encountered significant technical problems that still threaten its delivery schedule.
NEXT PAGE: The virtual satellite network