Pentagon Tests Global Internet Routing Via Satellite

Communication satellites have traditionally acted as transfer points for data beamed up from the ground. But the first commercial satellite with its own Internet router could eliminate the usual satellite-relay transfer lag and more flexibly handle voice, video and data communications for U.S. and NATO military forces anywhere around the world. The U.S. Department of Defense plans to kick off a three-month demo of the space technology this week, according to Aviation Week's Ares Defense Blog.

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U.S. Air Force Urgently Seeks Alternatives to GPS

GPS may now reside in everything from our cars to our smart phones, but it once all began as a military application. So it's perhaps ironic, if not entirely shocking, that the head of the U.S. Air Force said today that the military needs to wean itself off dependence on a GPS network vulnerable to jamming and satellite-killing vehicles. DOD Buzz reports that officials have confirmed that GPS has been "jammed or interfered with recently."

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Before and After Satellite Imagery of Earthquake-Ravaged Haiti Available on Google Earth

To help highlight the immense destruction that befell Haiti as a result of the recent earthquake, satellite imaging company GeoEye has teamed up with Google to produce a plug-in for Google Earth that allows users to view shots of Port au Prince taken at 7:20 this morning. By toggling between the newer photos and older satellite images taken of the city, the full scale of the devastation becomes shockingly apparent.

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Robotic Arm on Space Station Will Try Refueling a Satellite

NASA's bold repair mission for the Hubble Space Telescope has inspired engineers to tackle another challenge -- using the robotic arm on the International Space Station to refuel a satellite. Aviation Week reports that the Canadian "Dextre" arm could use a special tool to cut into a spacecraft that was never designed to be refueled, pierce the insulation, and access the fuel plumbing.

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Sandy, Salty Swirls

A satellite peers down on a hellish landscape

In the Tanezrouft Basin of south-central Algeria, vegetation is sparse and sand is plentiful. Images like this one, taken by Japan’s Advanced Land Observing Satellite, provide researchers with an easy look at hard-to-reach areas to survey natural resources, monitor disasters, and track vegetation coverage. Such imagery allows scientists to determine which areas warrant an expensive and difficult visit. The concentric shapes on the left are sandstone hills, rising above white salt flats.

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India Developing 'Kill Vehicle' to Knock Enemy Satellites Out of the Sky

Beware, enemies of India: Star Wars are back in fashion. With perennial (and nuclear armed) foe Pakistan always teetering on the brink of political collapse and neighboring regional superpower China taking greater strides into space technology, India has announced that it is developing an exo-atmospheric "kill vehicle" that will knock enemy satellites out of orbit.

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NASA Readies Three Important Climate Science Satellites For 2010 Launches

Nothing lasts forever -- especially when it's government-funded -- and so, with just a few more missions, NASA will wrap up the Space Shuttle program in the year ahead, putting the period on a long chapter in America's history in space. But as its flagship shuttle program goes out to pasture for good, NASA will put an important three-piece climate research legacy into orbit that will help scientists going forward keep tabs on both global warming and solar weather events that affect life here on Earth.

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Scientists and Spies Team Up On Global Warming

In a break from their usual business of overthrowing South American governments, covering up alien landings, and broadcasting coded messages through my fillings, the CIA has revived a program that teams up spies and scientists for the study of climate change. Through the program, scientists get access classified images of the polar ice caps, as well as the chance to pick the targets of off-duty spy satellites.

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A Global 'Planetary Skin' Network Will Monitor Earth's Resources

NASA and Cisco officially launch a $100 million effort to integrate ground, sea, air and space sensors

Every day, farmers and legislators make billions of small- and large-scale decisions that affect the Earth's resources, and typically rely on thousands of fragmented sources of data.

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Cheaper, Smaller Network of Spy Satellites Gives Troops on the Ground Their Own Eye in the Sky

Imagine your unit is working through a valley in Eastern Afghanistan trying to root out an insurgent group that’s been operating from the mountains above. It would be strategically advantageous to know exactly who and what awaits you on the other side of each ridge, but the nearest Predator drone is busy monitoring a key mountain pass miles away. What would really be nice is a satellite – your own little eye in the sky – to beam down some real time images of the surrounding landscape. Kestrel Eye, a system of multiple lightweight, low-cost imaging satellites that can be repositioned from the field, aims to do just that.

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The Dubai Airshow As Seen From Orbit

Dubai Airshow 2009 :  courtesy GeoEye (See it bigger!)
Our friend the GeoEye-1 satellite, which tirelessly photographs the world at half-meter resolution from its constant orbit, swung by the Dubai Airport the other day and took this snap of the Dubai Airshow, in progress this week.

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From Space To Soil, Farmers Enlist Satellites For More Bountiful Harvests

There was a time when a farmer simply tasted a clump of dirt to tell the fecundity of the soil. Now, a wide range of chemical analysis help instruct farmers on the optimal mix of fertilizer, pesticide and water. However, tests on soil samples are expensive and time consuming, and few farmers can afford to waste either time or money. And that's where the satellite imaging comes in.

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As Space Collision Threat Looms, Pentagon Upgrades Its Monitoring of Satellites

The U.S. Air Force has upgraded its ability to predict possible satellite collisions, as the risk from space debris increases

Satellites currently must dodge an ever-growing gauntlet of other satellites and clouds of space debris, and this year the Pentagon has quietly upgraded its surveillance accordingly. The U.S. military announced yesterday that it now tracks 800 maneuverable satellites, compared to less than 100 prior to a February collision between an active U.S. satellite and a retired Russian communications satellite.

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India Successfully Launches Seven Satellites With a Single Rocket

It’s been a busy day for India’s space agency. Underscoring the world’s largest democracy’s desire to become a serious player in the space business, the Indian Space Research Organisation launched seven satellites today, six of which belong to foreign nations.

India’s satellite, Oceansat-2, will enhance the ocean monitoring capabilities of the original Oceansat, which launched in 1999. Four of the other six satellites were German, while one was Turkish and one Swedish. Each of those carries a university-funded payload designed to conduct research on various new technologies.

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Japan Wants to Power 300,000 Homes With Wireless Energy From Space

Japan has serious plans to send a solar-panel-equipped satellite into space that could wirelessly beam a gigawatt-strong stream of power down to earth and power nearly 300,000 homes.

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