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A lot of money is spent on launching government communications satellites that aren’t useful to the public. What is the use for these satellites and why are they considered important enough to use millions of dollars to build and launch them?

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    $\begingroup$ Do you have a source for any launching of government communications satellites? There are some commercial sats. $\endgroup$
    – Uwe
    Commented Oct 9, 2022 at 15:54
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    $\begingroup$ @Uwe Not just "some". There are several commercial comsats. Almost all of the comsats flying over the US are commercial. $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 9, 2022 at 16:20
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    $\begingroup$ What makes you say they aren't essential? If you have a factual basis for that please edit and add it in, otherwise this sounds opinion based to me. $\endgroup$
    – GdD
    Commented Oct 9, 2022 at 19:13
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    $\begingroup$ You state that these networks "aren't useful to the public" and then go on to ask what their use is. If you do not know what they are for, how do you know they are not useful? Downvoted. $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 10, 2022 at 14:08

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Most of the US-based communications satellites are developed, launched, and operated by and for private companies, with no US government subsidies. The US government does own some communication satellites such as the Tracking and Data Relay Satellite (TDRS) constellation. The intent is to benefit the US government, and it does. Ordinary companies and ordinary citizens do not get to use TDRSS.

Some countries (not the US) do subsidize or even own and operate communications satellites for the benefit of the citizenry. Is there a problem with that? Even in the very capitalistic US, there are some cities that provide free city-wide WiFi because doing so is claimed to benefit the citizens of that city. What's the difference between free city-wide WiFi and free country-wide satellite communications?

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    $\begingroup$ There are military comsat networks - DSCS, Wideband Global SATCOM, etc. The reason for the "government spending money on them" involves security, availability, etc. $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 10, 2022 at 13:01
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    $\begingroup$ @OrganicMarble If "yep" was an acceptable response, I would have responded with just that. However, there's a required minimum characters response length, so my "yep" is a bit longer. Comsats, whether public or restricted, are one of the very few applications where sending stuff into space makes economic or political sense. Weather satellites and spy satellites are two of the other of those "useful" applications. $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 10, 2022 at 13:35

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