If you were to stop and think about the ways in which you interact with space technology on a regular basis, your initial thought is probably about satellite dishes that deliver television programming to your home. What you may not realize are the many other ways that the space industry is part of our daily lives.
Following are a few examples:
Global Positioning System (GPS) navigation: When you use your phone to guide you from point A to point B, GPS technology gets you there.
Banking services: Banks and businesses depend on satellite links to track inventory, process credit cards, and perform other banking services.
Satellite phone service: While most of us aren’t climbing mountains in cell phone-free zones on a daily basis, satellite phones are an important space-based tool used by people who live, work and play in parts of the world where cell towers aren’t accessible.
Internet access for hard-to-reach areas: There are many parts of the United States, particularly rural areas, where land-based internet service is not an option. Americans who live in those areas depend on satellite-based internet access to browse the web, send emails, stay in touch with friends and family, and work remotely.
Weather information: Satellite technology plays a large role in providing the weather forecasts that often dictate our plans – including what we’ll wear when we leave the house – on a daily basis.
There are many elements of the United States space program that support these technologies we use on the ground, and one of the key aspects of that program is our cooperation with other countries at the International Space Station (ISS). The current crew at ISS includes Americans R. Shane Kimbrough, Megan McArthur and Mark T. Vande Hei working alongside France’s Thomas Pesquet, as well as representatives from other countries.
Over the coming months, the French-American Cultural Foundation will be exploring this important area of international relations between France, Europe and the United States.