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10 cool uses for satellites

We look at some of the most advanced technology that's in orbit

Let's take a look up and assess some of the advanced technology in orbit and the diverse tasks of those satellites.

The virtual satellite network

The scientists at the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency are developing an advanced space technology programme that ultimately aims to replace traditional satellites with clusters of wirelessly interconnected modules.

The programme, called the Future, Fast, Flexible, Fractionated, Free-Flying Spacecraft United by Information Exchange, also known as the System F6, is intended to let the agency deploy individual pieces or what it calls 'fractionated modules' of current all-in-one satellites.

For example, each fractionated module would support a unique capability, such as command and control, data handling, guidance and navigation or payload.

Modules could replicate the functions of other modules as well. Such modules can be physically connected once in orbit or remain nearby to each other in a loose formation, or cluster, harnessed together through a wireless network they create a virtual satellite.

Satellite protection

The US Air Force laid out $29m recently to build space-based sensors that could detect threats or hazards and protect satellites in orbit.

Known as the Self-Awareness Space Situations Awareness, SASSA will develop and demonstrate a hardware/software architecture using a suite of threat warning instruments located on a satellite.

This will be accomplished by developing and demonstrating a payload that can monitor a space vehicle using threat warning instruments and can report hazards or threat indicators to ground operators.

NEXT PAGE: The asteroid hunter

  1. We look at some of the most advanced technology that's in orbit
  2. Satellites on the cheap
  3. The virtual satellite network
  4. The asteroid hunter
  5. The US FAA's satellite system


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