The Colorado Springs-based Space Foundation said in a white paper released this week that the ability of space-based technology to overcome infrastructure and access issues might help solve previously insurmountable economic, public health, and standard of living issues for developing nations. Plus, the highly collaborative nature of space research, development, and deployment could speed the process along because developing nations could easily benefit from existing policies and resources developed and managed by wealthier and more advanced space-faring nations.
Solutions from Space: Space Applications for International Development, which can be downloaded free from the Space Foundation's website, emphasizes the importance of science and technology - particularly space technology - in addressing many of the serious social and economic challenges developing nations face. Communications satellites, for example, can connect people in remote areas, provide medical expertise to areas where specialized personnel are not available, help students and teachers access educational content, and promote business and growth. Remote sensing satellites can provide disease avoidance and food security information, inform policy-makers about changes in land use, facilitate timely natural disaster relief, monitor conflicts, and help identify where aid is needed most. In addition, indigenous space activities can enable wide-reaching economic growth, allowing countries to break the cycle of poverty and international aid. Investing in space capabilities spurs progress in science and technology, develops educated citizens and technology-smart governments, and encourages high-tech industry to grow. Investing in space activities can help developing nations take control of their futures.