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Small satellites are important in today's world. Discover how these satellites influence business groups from around the world.

Small Satellites & Their Influence on Business Operations Worldwide

Sending spacecraft to space has become easier than it used to be even a decade ago. Currently, thousands of international and UK satellites are orbiting the Earth. They capture real-time data about our planet and provide us with real-time footage of every corner of Earth. 

Starting from the Egyptian pyramids to New York skyscrapers, people can zoom in on any street worldwide using smartphone navigation. But it’s not just about people; it is also about global businesses. So, how exactly do satellites affect business operations?

Satellite Technology in Agriculture & Supply Chains

There are many ways to use data from smallsats in space. One major area is agriculture. Satellites can now predict annual farmland yield using simple satellites and studying climate in selected regions. This data is then used by both farmers and food processors. 

Farmers can benefit from using this data by forecasting how much profit they can make in a fiscal year. In turn, wholesale food processors can predict how much yield there will be in a particular year and how that will affect relative food demand and supply worldwide. 

Satellites are now used for research on major staple crops such as wheat, corn, and rice. But today, every nation relies on each other. For example, a huge banana market in the USA relies on Indonesia. If you visit any US school, you will see they include one banana in every student’s meal. Similarly, every US household keeps different fresh fruits for their everyday meals. 

But as the US gets its fresh fruit supply from different Asian and Latin countries, US food processors have to know about climate change effects in their supply regions. This is important to understand if the suppliers can keep up with current market demand. 

Space Industry Privatization & Its Effects

Even a decade ago, the global space industry was dominated by major rich countries. They had the money and technology to undertake space exploration missions. But there was a big drawback in the space industry operations back then. As only rich countries and private companies could send satellites to space, they had a monopoly over the industry and global satellite coverage. 

But now, as more and more private companies are penetrating this market, space satellites coverage has increased a thousandfold. Whether it is for studying climate change effects or providing a telecommunication network to every corner of our planet, small satellites have truly revolutionized the way we obtain and process data.  

For instance, before private companies came into existence, the Arctic region was not covered by satellites. This meant no one on Earth had any idea about which ship was passing through it. This lack of knowledge posed a major threat to the global shipping industry. 

Small Satellites Launch a Tech Revolution

Today, the small satellite market is on the rise. There are thousands of small satellite manufacturers worldwide. Last year, a leading space agency, Spire, joined forces with the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency and the Ball Aerospace agency to monitor all the blinds spots of global shipping navigation and bring them under radar coverage. 

Along with helping ships navigate with utmost precision, these smallsats will also be used to collect data about traffic levels (that is, estimate most active routes) and determine whether ships make sudden stops midway to exchange goods. There have been many reports about ships exchanging goods with each other, later attributing cargo loss to adverse climate or logistics defects. 

There is a full-fledged black market for goods that are exchanged between ships while in the open ocean. Spire hopes that it will be able to stop black-market trading using data from satellites. 

How are Small Satellites Used?

Another application of satellite data is emergency rescue operations. When different climate calamities hit, it gets very hard for governments and rescue organizations to reach out to people who get trapped inside their homes. 

Planet, a leader among small satellite companies, is an organization that uses small satellites to help in rescue efforts. Currently, it has over 150 satellites in orbit. These satellites pick up images from areas where rescue and relief are needed. 

After identifying the area, it takes pictures and tries to pinpoint all the roads that are still usable, eliminating destroyed and inaccessible routes. It can also identify schools and other buildings that can be used as shelters.

Those are only some examples of how small satellites hugely affect our daily operations. With ever more private aerospace companies working on innovative tech products, we can expect this influence will only increase. Reduced satellite and launch service costs will eventually help more private companies deploy their spacecraft to required orbits, revolutionizing even more spheres of human activities back on Earth. 

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