Using satellites to communicate

The use of satellites is growing more and more popular and diverse every day. If you kept your eye on the news this year you would have seen that New Zealand is now capable of launching satellites into the far beyond, as Rocket Lab made its first successful launch on Sunday 21 January from Māhia Peninsula.

It is good to know the most common uses for satellites and which of these are used by Smartrak to provide you with the Smartrak EyeQ system.

First, some of the most common uses:

Astronomy satellites study stellar phenomena like black holes, quasars and distant galaxies.

Weather satellite technology monitors the Earth's temperature and cloud formations that help us predict weather patterns and forecasts.

Navigation satellites give receivers on earth their coordinate positions. Most people refer to this as GPS (Global Navigation System) , but GPS is only one of the Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) orbiting our planet. GPS is an American Government owned network of 32 satellites run by the US Airforce. The table shows a selection of other GNSS networks and some information about them:

Communications satellites are used for communications by allowing radio, television and telephone transmissions to be sent live anywhere on Earth. Apart from broadcasting your Sky TV signal or enabling you to make a satellite phone call, this type of satellite also enables us to transmit and receive data, much as you do on the internet or your office network. The most common data communications satellite networks are:

The majority of Smartrak's asset and personal tracking units make use of the GPS and GLONASS global navigation satellite systems to determine their location. This information is transmitted via the cellular network to the Smartrak system or, where the AVL is accompanied by a satellite modem, the data can be transmitted through the Iridium communications satellite network to the system.

Certain personal tracking units are also satellite communication capability and use either of the Iridium and Globalstar satellite communications networks to transmit their location (and other information) back to the Smartrak for you to view/analyse when using either the Smartrak EyeQ Map or Reporting modules.

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