Historically, satellite launch costs to lower Earth orbit average USD 10,000 per kilogram. This has come down by over 80 percent in recent years. SpaceX's Falcon Heavy boasts the lowest cost to launch at USD 1,655 per kilogram. Companies like United Launch Alliance, SpaceX, and Blue Origin are continuously striving towards reducing these costs and could soon bring it down as low as USD 100 per kilogram
Fremont, CA: Space exploration started with the launch of the Sputnik in 1957. Since then, humanity has evolved from exploring space to commercializing it. Over the last decade, over 2,000 commercial space companies have skyrocketed into the market. This is mainly due to the advances made in space technology and the plunging costs of launch to Low Earth Orbit (LEO). Historically, satellite launch costs to lower Earth orbit average USD 10,000 per kilogram. This has come down by over 80 percent in recent years. SpaceX's Falcon Heavy boasts the lowest cost to launch at USD 1,655 per kilogram. Companies like United Launch Alliance, SpaceX, and Blue Origin are continuously striving towards reducing these costs and could soon bring it down as low as USD 100 per kilogram.
Despite not conducting many manned space missions, space organizations worldwide have shown great cooperation in the launch and functioning of the International Space Station. SpaceX has already launched its Starlink constellation program to deliver high-speed network in all corners. The U.S. intends to permanently return man on the Moon by 2024 and also has planned for crewed missions to Mars. New and emerging space companies are building communications satellites, orbital launch vehicles, rovers for the Moon and Mars, orbital habitats, space manufacturing platforms, and space greenhouses leveraging space technology to its limits. Last year, the commercial space industry roped in more than $277 billion in global revenues.
Here are 8 Positive Benefits to Humanity from Space Programs.
Earth Observation for Weather Prediction and Climate Monitoring
Space systems have enabled accurate weather prediction and have become a critically important element of our daily lives, impacting government, industry, and personal decision making. Each year, thousands of lives are saved by satellites used for weather prediction that dish out public storm warnings. The lack of a satellite-based warning system back in 1900 resulted in the loss of 6,000 to 12,000 lives when a hurricane hit Galveston, Texas. Apart from weather forecasting, earth-observing satellites also keep an eye on greenhouse gasses and other crucial climate indicators, as well as overall earth ecosystem health.
Earth Resources Observation
Satellites for earth observation collect various data and provide information and support for agricultural production, fisheries management, freshwater management, and forestry management, as well as monitoring for harmful activities, such as illegal logging, animal poaching, fires, and environmentally pernicious mining.
Space-Based Communication Services
Communication technologies that leverage space networks are highly advanced and ahead of the current network systems. Sectors like banking and finance, navigation, and everyday communications have already been revolutionized by space technology and allow international and long-distance national phone calls, video feeds, streaming media, and satellite TV and radio to become completely routine.
Space-Based Positioning, Navigation, and Timing (PNT) Services
Global PNT Satellite Systems have a high rate of accuracy and can pinpoint one's location accurate down to a few meters. This technology has enhanced land and sea navigation, logistics, precision agriculture, military operations, electrical grids, and many other industrial and societal aspects of Earth's life. Space-based location positioning has intertwined deeply with daily human lives. Applications like maps, dating platforms, food delivery, and e-Commerce all leverage space-based PNT for better accuracy. Any abrupt disruptions to the service could lead to catastrophic problems.
Booming Economy in Commercial Space and Non-Space Sectors
Until a decade ago, the space sector was highly reserved for government space organizations of different nations. However, the tide has changed today, with a large number of private companies making the most out of the space industry. Space exploration plays a vital role in the overall development and progress of the economy. However, economic growth is not restrained to commercial space industries alone. Other sectors have also benefited greatly from the growth of the space industry. Jobs connected to construction, food service, wholesale and retail, finance, and more have had increased participation and business.
Inspiration for STEAM Education
Apart from developing the economy, a well-established space sector will also inspire a vast crowd of both young and old about new frontiers, discoveries, and technologies, and foster interest in STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, and math) disciplines. Space sector development will help create a scientifically developed society, that is more than capable of participating in an increasingly technology-driven world.
Countering Geopolitical Tensions
Over the years, there were a lot of combined initiatives in space exploration that has seen the collaboration of some of the most competitive nations like the U.S. and Russia. Such projects have more than often helped in reducing political tension between the nations and also improve bilateral relations between the two. The International Space Station is the pinnacle of such global cooperation. With fourteen nations participating and controlling the functioning, the International Space Station has shown the world that a group of countries can actually work together for a more significant cause.
Spinoffs from Space
Space technology has been leveraged thoroughly by scientists and developers. Over 2,000, different kinds of technologies have been developed based on space technology. Advancements like cordless power tools, freeze-dried food, flame-resistant firefighter gear, the integrated circuit, lightweight insulation, improvements to kidney dialysis, lightning detection, and automated credit card transactions have all been derived from space exploration. Each year NASA tracks spinoffs across a wide range of topics spanning transportation, public safety, consumer goods, energy and environment, information technology, industrial productivity, and health and medicine.
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