Satellites orbit the earth. Through electronic eyes from hundreds of miles overhead, the satellites lead prospectors to mineral deposits invisible on earth’s surface. Relaying communications at the speed of light, they shrink the planet until its most distant people are only a split second apart.
They beam world weather to our living room TV and guide ships through storms. Swooping low over areas of possible hostility, spies in the sky maintain surveillance that helps keep peace in a volatile world.
How many objects, exactly, are orbiting out there? Today’s count is 4,914. The satellites begin with a launch, which in the U.S. takes place at Cape Canaveral in Florida, NASA’s Wallops Flight Center in Virginia, or, for polar orbiters, Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. A few simply vanish into the immensity of space.
When a satellite emerges from the rocket’s protective shroud, radioelement regularly reports on its health to round-the-clock crews of ground controllers. They watch over the temperatures and voltages of the craft’s electronic nervous system and other vital ‘organs’, always critical with machines whose sunward side may be 300 degrees hotter than the shaded part.
Once a satellite achieves orbit-that delicate condition in which the pull of earth’s gravity is matched by the outward fling of the crafts speed-subtle pressures make it go astray Solar flares make the satellite go out of orbit. Wisps of outer atmosphere drag its speed. Like strands of spider web, gravity fields of the earth, moon, and sun tug at the orbiting space farer.
Even the sunshine’s soft caress exerts a gentle nudge. Should a satellite begin to wander, ground crews fire small fuel jets that steer it back on course. This is done sparingly, for exhaustion of these gases ends a craft’s useful career. Under such stresses, many satellites last 2 years.
When death is only a second away, controllers may command the craft to jump into a high orbit, so it will move up away from earth, keeping orbital paths from becoming too cluttered. Others become ensnarled in the gravity web; slowly they are drawn into gravitational shat serve as space graveyards.
A satellite for communications would function like a great antenna tower, hundreds or even thousands of miles above the earth, capable of transmitting messages almost instantaneously across die oceans and continents. Soon after the launch of ATWS-6, (a satellite designed to aid people) NASA ground controllers trained its antenna on Appalachia.
- Length: 983 words (2.8 double-spaced pages)
- Rating: Excellent
Satellite is probably the most useful invention since the wheel. Satellites
have the capability to let you talk with someone across the nation or let you
close a business deal through video communication. Almost everything today is
heading towards the use of satellites, such as telephones. At&t has used this
communications satellite (top right) ever since the late 1950s. TVS and radios
are also turning to the use of satellites. RCA and Sony have released satellite
dishes for Radio and Television services. New technology also allows the
military to use satellites as a weapon. The new ION cannon is a satellite that
can shoot a particle beam anywhere on earth and create an earthquake. They can
also use it's capability for imaging enhancement, which allows you to zoom in on
someone's nose hairs all the way from space.
Robert Gossard (left) was one of the most integral inventors of the
satellite. He was born on October 5, 1882. He earned his Masters and Doctoral
degree in Physics at Clark University. He conducted research on improving solid-
propellant rockets. He is known best for firing the world's first successful
liquid-propellant rocket on March 16, 1926. This was a simple pressure-fed
rocket that burned gasoline and liquid oxygen. It traveled only 56m (184 ft) but
proved to the world that the principle was valid. Gossard Died August 10, 1945.
Gossard did not work alone, he was also in partnership with a Russian theorist
named Konstantin Tsiolkovsky. Tsiolkovsky was born on September 7, 1857. As a
child Tsiolkovsky educated himself and rose to become a High School teacher of
mathematics in the small town of Kaluga, 145km (90mi) south of Moscow. In his
early years Tsiolkovsky caught scarlet fever and became 80% deaf. Together, the
theoretical work of Russian Konstantin Tsiolkovsky and the experimental work of
American Robert Gossard, confirmed that a satellite might be launched by means
of a rocket.
I chose the satellite to research because many things such as computers,
TVS and telephones are using satellites, and I thought it would be a good idea
to figure out how they work and the history behind them before we start to use
them more rapidly. I also picked the satellite because I think that my life
would differ without it. For instance, The Internet or World Wide Web would run
very slowly or would cease to exist altogether. We wouldn't be able to talk to
people across the world because telephone wires would have to travel across the
Atlantic, and if they did, the reception would be horrible. We wouldn't know
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Satellites Scarlet Fever Small Town Capability New Technology Rocket Rockets Firing 1950s
what the weather would be like on earth, or what the stars and planets are like
in space. We wouldn't be able to watch live television premiers across the
country because all those are via satellite.
A satellite is a secondary object that revolves in a closed orbit around
a planet or the sun, but an artificial satellite is used to revolve around the
earth for scientific research, earth applications, or Military Reconnaissance.
All artificial satellites consist of certain features in common. They include
radar for altitude measurements, sensors such as optical devices in observation
satellites, receivers and transmitters in communication satellites, and stable
radio-signal sources in navigation satellites. Solar cells generate power from
the sun , and storage batteries are used for the periods when the satellite is
blocked from the sun by the Earth. These batteries in turn are recharged by the
solar cells. The Russians launched Sputnik 1 (left) on October 4, 1957, as the
first satellite ever to be in space. The United States followed by launching
Explorer 1 on January 31, 1958. In the years that followed, more than 3,500
satellites were launched by the end of 1986. A science physicist said that "If
you added up all the radio waved sent and received by satellites, it wouldn't
equal the energy of a snowflake hitting the ground.
Satellites were built and tested on the ground. They were then placed into a
rocket and launched into space, where they were released and placed into orbit.
The rocket would then become space junk, and the owner of the satellite would
lose a tremendous amount of money. Now that NASA has created a space shuttle,
several satellites can be launched simultaneously from the shuttle and the
shuttle can then land for reuse and financial purposes. The space shuttles also
have the capability to retrieve a satellite from orbit and bring it down to
earth for repairs or destruction. Once the satellite is released from the space
shuttle, the antenna on the satellite will receive a signal from earth that will
activate it's rockets to move it into orbit. Once in orbit, The antenna will
receive another signal telling the satellite to erect it's solar panels (bottom).
Then the control center on earth will upload a program to the satellite telling
it to use it's censors to maintain a natural orbit with earth. The satellite
will then pick a target point on earth, and stay above that point for the
remainder of it' s life. Once a satellite shuts down, the program uploaded to
the satellite will tell it to fold up it's solar panels and remain in its orbit.
Several days after the shut down, a space shuttle will pick up the satellite for
repairs or replacement of new cells.
As you can see, the satellite is a very complicated piece of technology,
but it's capabilities are endless. By the end of the year 2000, there will be an
estimated 7,000 satellites in orbit! That's a satellite per 36,000 people.
Satellites are becoming more and more useful as technology advances. Computers
are turning towards the Internet, telephones are turning towards video-
communication, and televisions are looking for better cable services. So as
long as satellites orbit the earth, you might as well take advantage of them now,
before it's too late.