The cosmos within reach: How satellite technologies are transforming our future

Team Future Collars
80% of the potential contained in satellite data is still waiting to be discovered and utilized, said Mani Thiru, Head of Space & Satellite, AsiaPacific, Amazon Web Services during Women in IT Day, organized by Future Collars, a digital skills school. Thiru's presentation aimed to inspire women to explore and understand technology and space, showing that this sector offers unlimited possibilities and is more accessible than it might seem. She encouraged women to actively participate and contribute to the development of the rapidly growing space industry through education in IT and new technologies, such as training and courses.

WATCH: The cosmos within reach: How satellite technologies are transforming our future


Not Just Distant Galaxies

The cosmos has always captured the human imagination, sparking visions of distant galaxies, undiscovered mysteries, and possibilities beyond the confines of our everyday reality. Often, we think of it through the lens of major Hollywood productions, with actors like Matthew McConaughey, George Clooney, or Matt Damon playing the roles of explorers of new worlds, or epic sagas like "Star Wars" and "Star Trek," which transport us to different, fascinating realities.
However, space is not just the domain of cinema or science fiction literature. Reality, as demonstrated by the 2020 Perseverance rover mission to Mars conducted by NASA, is equally fascinating and inspiring. Exploring the Martian surface for signs of life lays the groundwork for future manned missions to the Red Planet. This is an example of how technological progress and unceasing human curiosity are opening new cognitive horizons for us, turning dreams into reality.

Space Technologies in Everyday Life

Yet, space is much more than just distant worlds and stars. In fact, space technologies and services are the foundation of the modern global economy, impacting environmental protection, national security, and many aspects of our daily lives in ways we might not realize on a daily basis.
Satellites orbiting the Earth are an integral part of our daily functioning. Thanks to them, communication on a massive scale is possible - from phone calls, through data transmission, to using apps like Uber. It is satellites that allow us access to fast internet connections in the most remote corners of the world, ensuring that our mobile phones can connect to the network in any situation. These technologies are also key in weather forecasting, allowing for early preparation for potential disasters and climate changes, saving lives and property.

Rescue services, which utilize satellite data in crisis situations, can accurately locate sources of danger or search for missing persons. Even dating apps, using geolocation to connect users in close proximity, depend on precise data from space.

This all demonstrates how space, once the domain of scientists and astronauts, has become an integral part of our everyday life. It changes the perspective from which we view the universe - not as a distant and unreachable space, but as a source of technology and services that shape our reality on a daily basis.

Key Roles of Space Technologies

In the face of increasing geopolitical tensions, the role of space technologies in ensuring national and international security becomes increasingly important. Satellites, with their advanced observational and communicative capabilities, are key in directing support where it is most needed, enabling effective coordination of defense and humanitarian actions worldwide. In this context, the Spacedeck platform emerges as an important tool in combating one of the greatest challenges of our times – climate change. It's worth noting that as much as 50% of essential climate change data is obtained from space, highlighting the invaluable role of satellites in monitoring and combating the adverse effects of this global issue.
Financial forecasts are equally promising, indicating the huge potential of the space sector. According to Morgan Stanley analyses, this industry is expected to reach a value of 1 trillion dollars by the year 2040, opening wide perspectives for professional and business development. This is particularly relevant in the context of rapid technological progress and the increasing importance of innovation in shaping the future of our civilization.

Poland in the Space Race

Poland is not lagging behind in this space race. Active participation in space programs and cooperation with the European Space Agency (ESA), culminating in the signing of an agreement to launch the first Polish satellite constellation, signals the ambitions and potential of our country in this industry. This constellation, consisting of at least four satellites – including three electro-optical and one radar, working in an integrated system, opens a new chapter for the Polish space sector. It not only confirms the technological competencies and innovativeness of Polish scientists and engineers but also indicates the possibilities for Poland's development and participation in international space endeavors, which is crucial for further growth and development of our economy on the global stage.
The announcement by the president of the Polish Space Agency of the possibility of sending a Polish mission to the Moon within the next ten years is not just a bold vision but also a concrete step towards expanding the boundaries of Poland's engagement in space research. The invitation to submit proposals for a national space mission, with a clear emphasis on lunar exploration, is a significant moment that highlights both ambitious plans and the recognition of the scientific and technological potential that Poland possesses. It not only demonstrates our aspirations to be part of the international community exploring space but also opens new research and development opportunities for Polish scientists and engineers.

The dynamic development of the Polish space sector, which currently includes about 400 entities, including enterprises and academic institutions, employing a total of about 12,000 specialists, testifies to the significant role this industry plays in the economy. This translates not only into increased innovation and technological competencies but also into the economic and scientific potential of the country. The Polish space industry, thanks to its engagement in international projects and cooperation with the European Space Agency, is becoming increasingly recognized on the international stage, which favors building a strong position for Poland as a country of innovation and advanced technologies.

This ambitious goal of a Polish mission to the Moon underscores not only the desire to participate in the latest achievements in space exploration but also reflects Poland's understanding of the significance and potential that the development of the space sector brings. It is also a signal to young scientists and engineers that Poland offers broad opportunities for development in one of the most fascinating and forward-looking fields of science and technology.

A New Era of Satellite Technology

For a fuller understanding of the dynamics of the space industry, it is necessary to bring its structure closer, especially in light of the role that cloud technologies play in catalyzing innovation. The sector is divided into two fundamental segments. The first involves the design and construction of satellites and spacecraft, which are key components in the so-called upper part of the value chain. Following their launch, the stage of coordination with ground control centers or operational systems begins, concluding the launch phase.
Next, the processing and analysis of data take a leading role. Satellites, equipped with advanced sensors and radio systems, enable not only the acquisition of images but also their in-depth analysis, extracting valuable information. Here, cloud technologies greatly simplify processing, storing, and sharing data, opening new perspectives for the industry.

Data obtained from space, characterized by high resolution and frequent observations of our planet, become a key source of information about Earth, delivered almost in real time. In this context, cosmic data sets qualify as "big data".

Effective management of such extensive data resources requires the use of advanced technologies, such as machine learning, artificial intelligence, and the Internet of Things (IoT), made available through cloud services. The flexibility of cloud computing allows for the adaptation of IT infrastructure and services to current needs and actual consumption, which is equally important in other sectors, such as banking, education, or healthcare. This enables the space industry to focus on its missions without the burden of managing technological infrastructure.

To illustrate the potential of new technologies in the space sector, it is worth noting the increasing number of innovative companies that are revolutionizing traditional industries, such as agriculture. These companies offer farmers access to precise data about their crops via tablets and smartphones, exemplifying the practical application of satellite imaging. In Australia, where over 28,000 farms are already using these solutions, these innovations contribute to increasing the profitability and productivity of farmers worldwide.

In the coming decade, satellite images may become a key technology for agriculture and food security, offering the possibility of creating products and services that will have a real impact on society. By improving crop management and increasing the efficiency of food production, satellite imaging can bring significant benefits to humanity.

Another critical application of space technologies is in combating fires, which pose an increasing threat in the era of climate change. In countries like the USA, Australia, Spain, Portugal, and Greece, fires cause enormous losses in natural resources and property, resulting in chaos and mass evacuations. Traditional fire detection methods, which took between 60 to 90 minutes, often proved inadequate for effective response and prevention of fire spread. Now, thanks to advanced satellite imaging, fires can be detected within just three minutes of the first signs of smoke appearing.

Companies like Australian and German Aurora Tech are breaking traditional approaches by combining satellite sensors with ground IoT devices, including cameras monitoring high-risk areas. Thanks to this integration of technologies, monitoring systems can not only quickly detect fires but also support crisis management and coordination of rescue operations, significantly reducing potential losses and destruction.

Space Innovations Driving Sustainable Development

The technological revolution in the space sector opens new possibilities in responding to natural disasters, offering methods for faster and more effective response, not only to fires but also to floods, tsunamis, and other calamities. These innovations play a key role in protecting populations and minimizing damage, which becomes incredibly important in the face of intensifying climate changes.
One example is an Indian company that extends the use of satellite imaging to support relief efforts during disasters, facilitating the identification of areas most in need of immediate help. In India, where droughts and floods are becoming increasingly common, the use of this technology by insurance companies allows for timely and fair compensation payouts to small farmers, offering them support in the event of inevitable catastrophes.

Such innovative approaches are bringing changes in risk management and crop insurance, opening new possibilities for inclusive financial management and financial security for farmers. Banks such as Rabobank and ICICI Bank in India are already using these technologies, optimizing insurance processes and risk management.

In the case of South Korea, it's evident how space technologies can serve not only for protection against natural disasters but also for sustainable development and protection of ecosystems. Korean satellites, equipped with advanced cameras – multispectral and polarization – extend the capabilities of monitoring the marine environment. Thanks to them, it's possible to precisely locate ships, identify algal blooms, or analyze air pollution by fine dust , which directly affects the quality of life and health of the population.

Cities like Busan and Seoul expect that the use of these technologies will allow for better data collection on critical issues, including the absorption of carbon dioxide by the oceans. Satellite technologies, with their ability to monitor and protect the Earth, become a key tool in better understanding and managing our planet, emphasizing the role of innovation in space as an indispensable element supporting sustainable development.

Encouragement for Education and Development in Space Technologies

Satellite technology, primarily known for space exploration, is finding increasingly wider applications in solving practical problems on Earth, serving as an inspiring example of its impact on our future. These innovations allow us to view space not just through the lens of astronautics but as a source of practical solutions for societal challenges. The examples cited shed new light on the potential of space technology, which brings real benefits to society, changing reality in ways that seemed impossible not long ago.
Europe, with its numerous successful projects, is an inspiring example of the opportunities that innovation in this field brings. Working with a group of outstanding specialists, pioneers in their fields, underscores the continuous pursuit of using space technology for the common good. It's proof of how important it is to seek new solutions and approaches that can bring significant improvements to the quality of our lives.

- I hope this information will encourage you to further develop your analytical and synthetic skills, which are invaluable in the era of big data. Knowledge and competencies in this area can be developed through educational platforms such as Future Collars, offering courses that provide practical knowledge and skills needed in a modern, data-driven economy. This is an opportunity to deepen your knowledge and acquire tools that will allow for active participation in shaping the future of our world – concluded Mani Thiru, Head of Space & Satellite, AsiaPacific, Amazon Web Services

Mani Thiru plays a key role at Amazon Web Services in the Asia Pacific region, specializing in the space and satellite sector. She contributes to the development of enterprises operating in the space and satellite industry, leveraging AWS cloud technologies.

The fifth edition of "Women in IT Day 2023" was held under the theme “Technology is changing the world before our eyes - be part of this breakthrough!" organized by Future Collars, in cooperation with EWA European Women's Association and DIGITALEUROPE as part of the Erasmus+ project.

"Women in IT Day 2023" is a free online conference dedicated to women who want to consciously shape their career path in IT. It offers eight hours of an intensive program, including lectures, debates, meetings with potential employers, workshops, speed mentoring sessions, and a wealth of knowledge and inspiration.

The main goal of the event is to support women in the technology sector through education, networking, and mentorship. It features leaders and experts from the Polish and European IT industry who share their knowledge and experience.

Future Collars, the main organizer, is an online programming and digital skills school that proposes unique teaching methods. It is aimed both at individuals wishing to change their career direction and enter the world of IT, and at companies looking for effective development programs for their employees.


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