Artificial Satellites - Essay

Topics: Satellite, International Space Station, Geosynchronous orbit Pages: 7 (1947 words) Published: October 4, 2012


An Artificial Satellite is a people-made machine that orbits a variety of other objects in space. Many Artificial Satellites orbit the Earth to gather information about the universe, to predict the weather, to help with the navigation of ships and planes, to assist in telephone calls over the ocean, to observe the Earth, and as a tool to improve military activities. Though Artificial Satellites have mostly orbited Earth, some have orbited the moon, the sun, asteroids, Venus, Mars and Jupiter; these satellites mostly study the body around which they're orbiting. As a satellite is any object that orbits another, Artificial Satellites are people-made. Natural satellites include the moon around the Earth and the Earth around the Sun.

Functions of Artificial Satellites:

There are many different types of Artificial Satellites, each having a distinct job. Some Artificial Satellites help to predict the weather, while others gather information about our universe for NASA and other organizations. In addition, some Artificial Satellites help to connect people worldwide by assisting in telephone calls over the ocean; some Artificial Satellites help to navigate ships and planes. Furthermore, Artificial Satellites help to improve military activities, while others observe the Earth. The types of Artificial Satellites are commonly referred to as:

Astronomical satellites:

Satellites used to observe distant planets, galaxies, and other outer space objects.

Communications satellites:

Satellites used to assist in telecommunication. Most communications satellites use geosynchronous orbits (orbits having the same length of time needed to complete one orbit as Earth) or near-geostationary orbits (circular orbits above Earth's equator). These satellites are largely responsible for the transmission of television and radio signals.

Earth observation satellites:

Satellites made to observe Earth from its orbit for uses environmental, weather, and map making.

Navigation satellites:

Satellites that use radios to determine the exact location of a mobile person. And also used especially to help in the navigation of ships and planes.

Killer Satellites/Anti-Satellite Weapons:

Satellites built to demolish "enemy" satellites and orbital weapons and targets.

Reconnaissance satellites:

Satellites used to get military intelligence. Little is known about these satellites, as their uses and information extracted by them are top-secret.

Solar power satellites:

These are proposed satellites that would convert the sun's energy into power. A Solar power satellite would collect the sun's energy which would then be converted into electricity, and eventually, microwaves. This satellite, proposed by Peter Glaser of Arthur D. Little Company to be set in a geostationary orbit, would provide a clean and inexhaustible power source. NASA's design would consist of a 3 x 6 mile rectangular solar collector and a .6 mile diameter circular transmitting antenna array. The design was developed in the 1970s, during the oil crisis. Think - sunlight is eight times more abundant to a satellite in space than it is on Earth! That means a lot of energy from the sun!

Weather satellites:

Satellites used to monitor the weather and climate of the Earth.


These are satellites designed to carry living organisms into outer space, especially for scientific experimentation. The first biosatellite was Sputnik II, carrying a Russian Space dog named Laika into space. Although Laika died from overheating and stress, her journey into space paved the way for humans going into space. Yuri Gagarin was the first human in space during a one-orbit mission on April 12, 1961. Gagarin's rocket was called Vostok I. Alan Shepard was the first American man in space in 1961, and Sally Ride was the first American woman in space in 1983.

International Space Station:

The International Space Station...
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