23/05/2012 04:49 BST | Updated 23/05/2012 04:50 BST

100 Years Of Innovation - The Satellite

They study weather and climate, help you text your mum when you'r abroad and now even North Korea have one. Satellites are the orbital gadget bundles that make modern communication happen.

Picture this: you're on your way across Antarctica and you snap your ankle. How do you get help? Satellite phone.

You want to spy on your neighbour or make a nostalgia search of a distant land? You tap Google Earth's satellite map.

Satellites were at the heart of the Regan-era Star Wars programme, which would have protected the US against missile attack during the height of the cold war.

There US keeps track of hoe many satellites are orbiting the earth via theUnited States Space Surveillance Network. There could be as many as 3,000 functioning satellites in orbit today.

Without satellites, the Lucas-inspired mockery of Regan's idea would not have been possible, and neither would your last international mobile phone call.