Related topics: nasa · space · launch · earth · orbit

SpaceX launches first 60 satellites of its internet network

SpaceX has launched a rocket carrying the first 60 satellites of its "Starlink" constellation, which is intended to provide internet from space in an array that could one day contain over 12,000 orbiting transponders.

Mission control 'saves science'

Every minute, ESA's Earth observation satellites gather dozens of gigabytes of data about our planet—enough information to fill the pages on a 100-metre long bookshelf. Flying in low-Earth orbits, these spacecraft are continuously ...

Planet-hunter CubeSat images Los Angeles

A small satellite designed to hunt for new planets beyond the solar system recently looked down at Earth to capture an image of California's "City of Stars."

Reprogrammable satellite takes shape

The payload and platform of the first European satellite that can be completely reprogrammed after launch have been successfully joined together.

3-D Earth in the making

A thorough understanding of the 'solid Earth' system is essential for deciphering the links between processes occurring deep inside Earth and those occurring nearer the surface that lead to seismic activity such as earthquakes ...

Video: Water cycle wrapped

As our climate changes, the availability of freshwater is a growing issue for many people around the world. Understanding the water cycle and how the climate and human usage is causing shifts in natural cycling processes ...

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Satellite

In the context of spaceflight, a satellite is an object which has been placed into orbit by human endeavor. Such objects are sometimes called artificial satellites to distinguish them from natural satellites such as the Moon.

The first artificial satellite, Sputnik 1, was launched by the Soviet Union in 1957. By 2009 thousands of satellites have been launched into orbit around the Earth. These originate from more than 50 countries and have used the satellite launching capabilities of ten nations. A few hundred satellites are currently operational, whereas thousands of unused satellites and satellite fragments orbit the Earth as space debris. A few space probes have been placed into orbit around other bodies and become artificial satellites to the Moon, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn.

Satellites are used for a large number of purposes. Common types include military (spy) and civilian Earth observation satellites, communication satellites, navigation satellites, weather satellites, and research satellites. Space stations and human spacecraft in orbit are also satellites. Satellite orbits vary greatly, depending on the purpose of the satellite, and are classified in a number of ways. Well-known (overlapping) classes include low Earth orbit, polar orbit, and geostationary orbit.

Satellites are usually semi-independent computer controlled systems. Satellite subsystems attend many tasks, such as power generation, thermal control, telemetry, attitude control and orbit control.

This text uses material from Wikipedia, licensed under CC BY-SA