The Argos (Advanced Research and Global Observation Satellite) system is a network of seven polar orbiting satellites that collect sensor and location data from both stationary and mobile transmitters around the world. This information is then processed and distributed to users around the world. This information helps the scientific community better monitor and understand the environment as well as enables industry to comply with environmental protection regulations.
The system was first developed in 1978 under a Memorandum of Understanding between NOAA, NASA, and the French space agency, Centre National d'études Spatiales (CNES). Today, other international space agencies also participate, including the European Organization of the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites (EUMETSAT), the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO), and others.
The Argos system has many uses. For example, remote automatic weather stations report via Argos, and it has been vital to many global research programs that focus on oceanography, climatology, and even maritime security, such as detecting piracy and supporting commercial vessels, yacht racers, and more. However, Argos has most famously been used to track wildlife, particularly marine mammals and sea turtles since the 1980s. There are currently 22,000 active transmitters around the world that the Argos system is monitoring, with almost 7,800 tracking wildlife as of Sept. 2019.