Satellites can be used for many different applications such as communication, broadcasting, navigation, weather forecasting etc.
Modern communications satellites typically use geosynchronous orbits, Molniya orbits or Low Earth orbits.
Earth observation satellites are satellites intended for non-military uses such as environmental monitoring, meteorology, map making etc.
Navigational satellites (e.g. GPS) are satellites which use radio time signals transmitted to enable mobile receivers on the ground to determine their exact location. The relatively clear line of sight between the satellites and receivers on the ground, combined with ever-improving electronics, allows satellite navigation systems to measure location to accuracies on the order of a few meters in real time.
Weather satellites are primarily used to monitor Earth’s weather and climate.
Reconnaissance satellites are Earth observation satellite or communications satellite deployed for military or intelligence applications.
Starlink (SpaceX) and OneWeb have projects to launch constellations of hundreds of satellites, which could provide a cheaper broadband service.
Components & enablers
- Satellite transponder
- Antenna subsystem
- Solar cell and battery backup
- Ground stations / devices
Advantages & field of application
- Communications between substations and dispatch centres, especially for remote locations or backup links
- Communication with mobile assets (e.g. drones)
- Monitoring of power lines
- Monitoring of vegetation in corridors
- Positioning of assets (GPS)
- Synchronization of electronic equipment (GPS)
- Weather forecast as input for planning operations
Technology Readiness Level
TRL 7-8 for constellations, 9 otherwise.
Research & Development
Vegetation management of transmission corridors
Pylon movements and ground displacement 
Best practice performance
Best Practice Application
- Using high resolution satellite imagery for high and medium voltage power line monitoring
- Satellite communications (SatCom) applications for remote locations and for network backup / resilience
- Satellite support for autonomous drones (UAVs)