The United States government is trying to help private companies in their efforts to use space for business purposes.

    Last week, President Donald Trump signed a space policy directive aimed at easing rules on commercial use of space.

    Trump signed the directive just days after Space X launched another rocket carrying satellites into Earth orbit.

    The launch and several others planned for June are examples of private industries' growing interest in space for commercial and scientific research.

    Will Marshall is chief executive officer of Planet, a leading provider of geospatial information. He told VOA business leaders' interest in space "is starting to come back and do some really interesting things."
    威尔·马歇尔(Will Marshall)是Planet公司的首席执行官,这是一家领先的地球空间信息提供商。他对美国之音表示,商业领袖对太空的兴趣“正在开始回归做一些真正有意思的事情。”

    Planet has put up about 200 satellites in orbit around the Earth. They make images of its complete land mass each day.

    Marshall said that before his company, satellite imagery was only taken every year or several years. He told VOA that many industries can use the now orderly, regular images from space.

    "You can use that data to improve crop yields so farmers can use it to decide when to add fertilizer, or when to add water because we can tell crop yield from orbit...Or it could be used by governments for a wide range of things from border security to disaster response."

    Satellites also orbit our planet for purposes of national security.

    Steve Isakowitz is president and chief executive officer of the Aerospace Corporation, a company that works with the U.S. Air Force and intelligence community. He said, "We just launched a few months ago a satellite that was just like this, but also had laser communication. We were able to send at 200 megabits per second high data rates down to the ground and the ability for satellites to actually talk to each other. The same satellites that are put up to look at the Earth could be looking around the neighborhood and doing neighborhood watch for...national security and space situational awareness."
    史蒂夫·艾萨克沃兹(Steve Isakowitz)是航空航天公司(Aerospace Corporation)的总裁兼首席执行官,这家公司同美国空军和情报界合作。他说:“我们几个月前刚刚发射了一颗类似这样的卫星,但是它也具备激光通信能力。我们能够以每秒200兆比特的高传输率向地面发送数据,而且卫星有能力互相沟通。我们发射的地球观测卫星可以用于监视邻国,用于国家安全和太空态势感知的目的。”

    Also orbiting the Earth is the International Space Station (ISS), a place of great interest to some major companies and research centers. The ISS National Laboratory and astronauts inside perform experiments that would not be possible on Earth.

    The lack of gravity affects the experiments, noted Jennifer Lopez of the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space, which directs the ISS National Laboratory. Also, the space station orbits the Earth 16 times a day, experiencing extreme temperatures and radiation, providing a one-of-a-kind environment for experiments. Some experiments may help life on Earth; however, the findings can also help with future human exploration into deep space.
    空间科学促进中心的詹妮弗·洛佩兹(Jennifer Lopez)负责国际空间站的国家实验室,她指出缺少地球引力对这些实验有影响。此外,该空间站每天绕地球飞行16次,历经极端温度和辐射,为实验提供了独一无二的环境。一些实验可能有助于地球生命。然而,这些研究结果也有助于人类未来探索外太空。

    "There is so much opportunity right now in space; Mars is one of those opportunities," said Chad Anderson, chief executive officer of Space Angels, which invests in the space industry.
    投资太空行业的Space Angels公司的首席执行官查德·安德森(Chad Anderson)表示:“太空中现在有太多机会,火星就是其中之一。”

    While NASA, the U.S. space agency, works on sending humans to the moon and Mars, the space near Earth will become busier as businesses explore this final frontier.

    I'm Susan Shand.