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Launching a new era

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying 60 satellites lifts off from Cape Canaveral in Florida in the US. The satellites, some as small as a briefcase, will be part of SpaceX’s constellation that orbits the Earth.
A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying 60 satellites lifts off from Cape Canaveral in Florida in the US. The satellites, some as small as a briefcase, will be part of SpaceX’s constellation that orbits the Earth.

Satellites orbiting the planet are fundamental to today’s global economy. They are critical for highspeed internet in remote areas, navigation (think GPS), and weather forecasts, and they can help us solve global challenges such as climate change. Last year, Elon Musk’s SpaceX began launching batches of satellites to build a mega-constellation of 12,000 this decade, more than the number of satellites that humans have sent into space since Sputnik’s launch in 1957. These satellites are smaller and much cheaper to build. The goal is to blanket the globe with high-speed internet service. Other key players racing to be the dominant satellite operator are Amazon and Telesat. But critics say the world is unprepared to manage an orbital congestion of thousands of satellites.

For governments and organisations, how will technologies powered by satellites fit into long-term strategy? Will a connected world that includes underserved and remote populations change what you do?