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Satellite means to orbit another body.

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A satellite is any object that orbits another object (which is known as its primary). Satellites can be spacecraft manufactured on Earth and sent into orbit on a launch vehicle. A satellite may be naturally occurring such as moons, comets, asteroids, planets, stars, and even galaxies. A satellite may be space debris.

All masses that are part of our Solar System, including the Earth and Sun, are satellites of either a planet, the Sun, or the Galactic center of the Milky Way.

Definition of a satellite.

An Earth observation satellite, ERS 2.
communication satellite.
MILSTAR:A communication satellite.

It is not always a simple matter to decide which is the "satellite" in a pair of bodies. Because all objects with mass are affected by gravity, the motion of the primary object is also affected by the satellite. If two objects are sufficiently similar in mass, they are generally referred to as a binary system rather than a primary object and satellite; an extreme example is the 'double asteroid' 90 Antiope. The general criterion for an object to be a satellite is that the center of mass (known as the barycenter) of the two objects is inside the primary object. Another, perhaps better known, example is the Dwarf planet Pluto and its companion, Charon. While many consider Charon to be a satellite of Pluto, this can be debated, as their masses are similar to the point where their barycenter is not within either object. Accordingly, some consider Pluto and Charon to be the two members of a double planet system.

Early theoretical work on artificial satellites.

What seems the first fictional depiction of an artificial satellite launched into Earth orbit seems to be in 1869 in the short story The Brick Moon, by Edward Everett Hale. The object named in the title is intended as a navigational aid, but is accidentally launched with people aboard. The idea surfaces again in Jules Verne's The Begum's Millions (1879). In this book, however, this is a completely unintentional result of the book's villain building an enormous artillery piece in order to destroy his enemies, and imparting to the shell a greater velocity than intended.

In 1903 Konstantin Tsiolkovsky (1857-1935) published (The Exploration of Cosmic Space by Means of Reaction Devices), which was arguably the first academic treatise on rocketry. He calculated the escape velocity from Earth into orbit at 8 km/second and that a multi-stage rocket fueled by liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen would be required. During his lifetime he published over 500 works on space travel and related subjects, including science fiction novels. Among his works are designs for rockets with steering thrusters, multi-stage boosters, space stations, airlocks for exiting a spaceship into the vacuum of space, and closed cycle biological systems to provide food and oxygen for space colonies. He also delved into theories of heavier-than-air flying machines, independently working through many of the same calculations that the Wright brothers were performing at about the same time.

In 1928 Herman Potocnik (1898-1929) published his sole book, Das Problem der Befahrung des Weltraums - der Raketen-motor (The Problem of Space Travel - The Rocket Motor), a plan for a breakthrough into space and a permanent human presence there. He conceived of a space station in detail and calculated its geostationary orbit. He described the use of orbiting spacecraft for detailed peaceful and military observation of the ground and described how the special conditions of space could be useful for scientific experiments. The book described geostationary satellites (first put forward by Tsiolkovsky) and discussed communication between them and the ground using radio, but fell short of the idea of using satellites for mass broadcasting and as telecommunications relays.

In 1945 the English science fiction writer Arthur C. Clarke (b. 1917) conceived of the possibility for mass artificial communication satellites in his Wireless World article. Clarke examined the logistics of satellite launch, possible orbits and other aspects of the creation of a network of world-circling satellites, pointing to the benefits of high-speed global communications. He also suggested that three geostationary satellites would provide coverage over the entire planet.

History of artificial satellites.

The first artificial satellite was Sputnik 1 launched by Soviet Union on 4 October 1957.

In May, 1946, Project RAND released the Preliminary Design of an Experimental World-Circling Spaceship, which stated, "A satellite vehicle with appropriate instrumentation can be expected to be one of the most potent scientific tools of the Twentieth Century. The achievement of a satellite craft would produce repercussions comparable to the explosion of the atomic bomb…"

The space age began in 1946, as scientists began using captured German V-2 rockets to make measurements in the upper atmosphere. Before this period, scientists used balloons that went up to 30 km and radio waves to study the ionosphere. From 1946 to 1952, upper-atmosphere research was conducted using V-2s and Aerobee rockets. This allowed measurements of atmospheric pressure, density, and temperature up to 200 km. (see also: magnetosphere, Van Allen radiation belt)

The United States had been considering launching Orbital satellites since 1945 under the Bureau of Aeronautics of the United States Navy. The Air Force's Project RAND eventually released the above report, but did not believe that the satellite was a potential military weapon; rather they considered it to be a tool for science, politics, and propaganda. In 1954, the Secretary of Defense stated, "I know of no American satellite program."

Following pressure by the American Rocket Society, the National Science Foundation, and the International Geophysical Year, military interest picked up and in early 1955 the Air Force and Navy were working on Project Orbiter, which involved using a Jupiter C rocket to launch a small satellite called Explorer 1 on January 31, 1958.

On July 29, 1955, the White House announced that the U.S. intended to launch satellites by the spring of 1958. This became known as Project Vanguard. On July 31, the Soviets announced that they intended to launch a satellite by the fall of 1957. On October 4, 1957 Sputnik 1 was launched into orbit, which triggered the space race between the two already adversarial nations.

The largest artificial satellite currently orbiting the Earth is the International Space Station.

The United States Space Surveillance Network (SSN) has been tracking space objects since 1957 when the Soviets opened the space age with the launch of Sputnik I. Since then, the SSN has tracked more than 26,000 space objects orbiting Earth. The SSN currently tracks more than 8,000 man-made orbiting objects. The rest have re-entered Earth's turbulent atmosphere and disintegrated, or survived re-entry and impacted the Earth. The space objects now orbiting Earth range from satellites weighting several tons to pieces of spent rocket bodies weighing only 10 pounds. About seven percent of the space objects are operational satellites (i.e. - ~560 satellites), the rest are debris. USSTRATCOM is primarily interested in the active satellites, but also tracks space debris which upon reentry might otherwise be mistaken for incoming missiles. The SSN tracks space objects that are 10 centimeters in diameter (baseball size) or larger.

Telecommunication satellite is a kind of satellite (later explained) that’s very close to our daily life. Arthur C. Clarke was one of the pioneers of this field; he fostered the idea of a worldwide satellite system. Echo I is a passive communication satellite launched in 1960. It was not equipped with a two-way system yet, and it was rather functioned as a reflector. Not very long after then, the Telstar I, an active communication satellite, was launched in 1962, with receiving and transmitting equipment, and was an active participant in the reception-transmission process. Telstar created the world’s first international television link. Therefore, Mirabito & Morgernstern in their book, The New Communication Technologies: Applications, Policy, and Impact, 5th edition, said that Telstar had paved the way for today’s communication spacecraft

Types of satellite.

  • Anti-Satellite weapons, sometimes called "Killer satellites" are satellites designed to destroy "enemy" satellites, other orbital weapons and targets. Some are armed with kinetic rounds, while others use energy and/or particle weapons to destroy satellites, ICBMs, MIRVs. Both the U.S. and the USSR had these satellites. Links discussing "Killer satellites", ASATS (Anti-Satellite satellite) include USSR Tests ASAT weapon and ASAT Test. See also IMINT.
  • Astronomical satellites are satellites used for observation of distant planets, galaxies, and other outer space objects.
  • Biosatellites are satellites designed to carry living organisms, generally for scientific experimentation.
  • Communications satellites are an artificial satellite stationed in space for the purposes of telecommunications. Modern communications satellites typically use geosynchronous orbits, Molniya orbits or low Earth orbits.
  • Miniaturized satellites are satellites of unusually low weights and small sizes. New classifications are used to categorize these satellites: minisatellite (500-200 kg), microsatellite (below 200 kg), nanosatellite (below 10 kg).
  • Navigation satellites are satellites which use radio time signals transmitted to enable mobile receivers on the ground to determine their exact location. The relatively clear line of sight between the satellites and receivers on the ground, combined with ever-improving electronics, allows satellite navigation systems to measure location to accuracies on the order of a few metres in real time.
  • reconnaissance satellites are Earth observation satellite or Communications satellite deployed for military or intelligence applications. Little is known about the full power of these satellites, as governments who operate them usually keep information pertaining to their reconnaissance satellites classified.
  • Earth observation satellites are satellites intended for non-military uses such as environmental monitoring, meteorology, map making etc. (See especially Earth Observing System.).
  • Solar power satellites are proposed satellites built in High Earth orbit that use microwave power transmission to beam solar power to very large antennae on Earth where it can be used in place of conventional power sources.
  • Space stations are man-made structures that are designed for human beings to live on in Outer space. A space station is distinguished from other manned Spacecraft by its lack of major propulsion or Landing facilities - instead, other vehicles are used as transport to and from the station. Space stations are designed for medium-term living in orbit, for periods of weeks, months, or even years.
  • Weather satellites are satellites that primarily are used to monitor Earth's weather and climate.

Orbit types of satellite and list of orbits.

Centric Classifications

Galacto-centric Orbit - An orbit about the center of a Galaxy. Earth's Sun follows this type of orbit about the Galactic center of the Milky Way.
Heliocentric Orbit - An orbit around the Sun. In our Solar System, all planets, comets, and asteroids are in such orbits, as are many artificial satellites and pieces of space debris. Moons by contrast are not in a Heliocentric Orbit but rather orbit their parent planet.
Geocentric Orbit - An orbit around the planet Earth, such as the Moon or artificial satellites. Currently there are approximately 2465 artificial satellites orbiting the Earth.
Areocentric Orbit - An orbit around the planet Mars, such as moons or artificial satellites.

Altitude Classifications

Low Earth orbit (LEO) - Geocentric orbits ranging in altitude from 0 - 2,000 km (0 - 1,240 miles)
Medium Earth Orbit (MEO) - Geocentric orbits ranging in altitude from 2,000 km (1,240 miles) - to just below Geosynchronous orbit at 35,786 km (22,240 miles). Also known as an Intermediate circular orbit.
High Earth orbit (HEO) - Geocentric orbits above the altitude of Geosynchronous orbit 35,786 km (22,240 miles).

Inclination Classifications

Inclined Orbit - An orbit whose inclination in reference to the equatorial plane is not 0.
polar orbit - An orbit that passes above or nearly above both poles of the planet on each revolution. Therefore it has an inclination of (or very close to) 90 degrees.
Polar Sun-synchronous Orbit - A nearly polar orbit that passes the Equator at the same local time on every pass. Useful for image taking satellites because shadows will be the same on every pass.

Eccentricity Classifications

circular orbit - An orbit that has an eccentricity of 0 and whose path traces a circle.
Hohmann transfer orbit - An orbital maneuver that moves a Spacecraft from one circular orbit to another using two engine impulses. This maneuver was named after Walter Hohmann.
elliptic orbit - An orbit with an eccentricity greater than 0 and less than 1 whose orbit traces the path of an ellipse.
Geosynchronous transfer orbit - An elliptic orbit where the perigee is at the altitude of a Low Earth orbit (LEO) and the apogee at the altitude of a Geosynchronous orbit.
Geostationary Transfer Orbit - An elliptic orbit where the perigee is at the altitude of a Low Earth orbit (LEO) and the apogee at the altitude of a geostationary orbit.
Molniya orbit - A highly elliptic orbit with inclination of 63.4º and Orbital period of ½ of a Sidereal day (roughly 12 hours). Such a satellite spends most of its time over a designated area of the planet.
Tundra Orbit - A highly elliptic orbit with inclination of 63.4º and Orbital period of one Sidereal day (roughly 24 hours). Such a satellite spends most of its time over a designated area of the planet.
Hyperbolic orbit - An orbit with the eccentricity greater than 1. Such an orbit also has a velocity in excess of the escape velocity and as such, will escape the gravitational pull of the planet and continue to travel infinitely.
Parabolic Orbit - An orbit with the eccentricity equal to 1. Such an orbit also has a velocity equal to the escape velocity and therefore will escape the gravitational pull of the planet and travel until its velocity relative to the planet is 0. If the speed of such an orbit is increased it will become a Hyperbolic orbit.
Escape Orbit (EO) - A high-speed Parabolic Orbit where the object has escape velocity and is moving away from the planet.
Capture Orbit - A high-speed Parabolic Orbit where the object has escape velocity and is moving toward the planet.

Synchronous Classifications.

synchronous orbit - An orbit where the satellite has an Orbital period equal to the average rotational period (earth's is: 23 hours, 56 minutes, 4.091 seconds) of the body being orbited and in the same direction of rotation as that body. To a ground observer such a satellite would trace an analemma (figure 8) in the sky.
Semi-Synchronous Orbit (SSO) - An orbit with an altitude of approximately 20,200 km (12544.2 miles) and an Orbital period of approximately 12 hours
Geosynchronous orbit (GEO) - Orbits with an altitude of approximately 35,786 km (22,240 miles). Such a satellite would trace an analemma (figure 8) in the sky.
geostationary orbit (GSO): A Geosynchronous orbit with an inclination of zero. To an observer on the ground this satellite would appear as a fixed point in the sky.
Clarke orbit - Another name for a geostationary orbit. Named after the writer Arthur C. Clarke.
Supersynchronous orbit - A disposal / storage orbit above GSO/GEO. Satellites will drift west. Also a synonym for Disposal Orbit.
Subsynchronous orbit - A drift orbit close to but below GSO/GEO. Satellites will drift east.
Graveyard Orbit - An orbit a few hundred kilometers above geosynchronous that satellites are moved into at the end of their operation.
Disposal Orbit - A synonym for Graveyard Orbit.
Junk Orbit - A synonym for Graveyard Orbit.
Areosynchronous Orbit - A synchronous orbit around the planet Mars with an Orbital period equal in length to Mars' Sidereal day, 24.6229 hours.
Areostationary Orbit (ASO) - A circular Areosynchronous Orbit on the equatorial plane and about 17,000 km(10557 miles) above the surface. To an observer on the ground this satellite would appear as a fixed point in the sky.
Heliosynchronous Orbit - An Heliocentric Orbit about the Sun where the satellite's Orbital period matches the Sun's period of rotation. These orbits occur at a radius of 24.360 Gm (0.1628 AU) around the Sun, a little less than half of the orbital radius of Mercury.

Special Classifications.

Sun-synchronous Orbit - An orbit which combines altitude and inclination in such a way that the satellite passes over any given point of the planets's surface at the same local solar time. Such an orbit can place a satellite in constant sunlight and is useful for imaging, spy, and Weather satellites.
Moon Orbit - The orbital characteristics of Earth's Moon. Average altitude of 384,403 kilometres (238,857 mi), elliptical-inclined orbit.

Pseudo-Orbit Classifications

horseshoe orbit - An orbit that appears to a ground observer to be orbiting a certain planet but is actually in co-orbit with the planet. See asteroids 3753 (Cruithne) and 2002 AA29.
Exo-orbit - A maneuver where a Spacecraft approaches the height of orbit but lacks the velocity to sustain it.
Orbital spaceflight - A synonym for Exo-orbit.
Lunar transfer orbit (LTO) -
Prograde Orbit - An orbit with an inclination of less than 90º. Or rather, an orbit that is in the same direction as the rotation of the primary.
retrograde orbit - An orbit with an inclination of more than 90º. Or rather, an orbit counter to the direction of rotation of the planet. Almost no satellites are launched into retrograde orbit because the quantity of fuel required to launch them is much greater than for a prograde orbit. This is because when the rocket starts out on the ground, it already has an eastward component of velocity equal to the rotational velocity of the planet at its launch latitude.

Satellites can also orbit Lagrangian Points.

Launch capable countries.

Timeline of first orbital launches by nationality

This list includes countries with an independent capability to place satellites in orbit, including production of the necessary launch vehicle. Note: many more countries have the capability to design and build satellites - which relatively speaking, does not require much economic, scientific and industrial capacity - but are unable to launch them, instead relying on foreign launch services. This list does not consider those numerous countries, but only lists those capable of launching satellites indigenously, and the date this capability was first demonstrated. Does not include consortium satellites or multi-national satellites.

First launch by country
CountryYear of first launchFirst satellitePayloads in orbit in 2006
Flag of Soviet Union Soviet Union 1957 Sputnik 1 1390 (Russia)
Flag of United States United States 1958 Explorer 1 999
Flag of France France 1965 Astérix 43
Flag of Japan Japan 1970 Osumi 102
Flag of People's Republic of China China 1970 Dong Fang Hong I 53
Flag of United Kingdom United Kingdom 1971 Prospero X-3 23
Flag of India India 1981 Rohini 31
Flag of Israel Israel 1988 Ofeq 1 6

Both North Korea and Iraq have claimed orbital launches but these are unconfirmed, and unlikely. as of 2006, only eight countries and one regional space organisation have independently launched satellites into orbit on their own indigenously developed launch vehicles - in chronological order: USSR, USA, France, Japan, China, UK, ESA, India and Israel.

First launch by country including help of another parties
CountryYear of first launchFirst satellitePayloads in orbit in 2006
Flag of Soviet Union Soviet Union 1957 Sputnik 1 1390 (Russia)
Flag of United States United States 1958 Explorer 1 999
Flag of Canada Canada 1962 Alouette 1
Flag of France France 1965 Astérix 43
Flag of Italy Italy 1967 San Marco 2
Flag of Australia Australia 1967 WRESAT
Flag of Japan Japan 1970 Osumi 102
Flag of People's Republic of China China 1970 Dong Fang Hong I 53
Flag of United Kingdom United Kingdom 1971 Prospero X-3 23
Flag of India India 1981 Rohini 31
Flag of Israel Israel 1988 Ofeq 1 6
Flag of Kazakhstan Kazakhstan 2006 KazSat 1 1

It should be noted that while Kazakhstan did launch their satellite independently, it was built by the Russians, and the rocket was not independently designed. While Canada was the third country to build a satellite which was launched into Space, it was launched aboard a U.S. rocket from a U.S. spaceport. The same goes for Australia, who launched on-board a donated Redstone rocket. The first Italian-launched was San Marco 2, launched on 26 April 1967 on a U.S. Scout rocket with U.S. support. Australia's launch project, in November 1967, involved a donated U.S. missile and U. S. support staff as well as a joint launch facility with the United Kingdom. The launch capabilities of the United Kingdom and France now fall under the European Space Agency (ESA), and the launch capabilities of the Soviet Union fall under Russia, reducing the number of political entities with active satellite launch capabilities to seven - six 'major' space powers: USA, Russia, China, India, EU, Japan, and a minor space power - Israel.

Several other countries such as South Korea, Pakistan, Iran, Brazil and Egypt are in the early stages of developing their own small-scale launch capabilities, and seek to become 'minor' space powers - others may have the scientific and industrial capability, but not the economic or political will.


The (artificial, though this is not stated in the blazon) satellite appears as a charge in the arms of Arthur Maxwell House. This is in addition to numerous appearances of the natural satellite the Moon, and the moons of the planets Jupiter and Saturn (with those planets) in the arms of Pierre-Simon LaPlace.

Why not also search for...

satellite in a museum.
A model satellite in a museum.
  • Communications satellite.
  • Timeline of artificial satellites and space probes.
  • List of Earth observation satellites.
  • International Designator.
  • Satellite Catalog Number.
  • Satellites (sorted by launch date):
    • Syncom 1 (1963), 2 (1963) and 3 (1964).
    • Anik 1 (1972).
    • EgyptSat 1 (2007) (Egypt, launched by Ukraine).
    • Egypt to launch its first scientific satellite.
    • Aryabhata (1975) (India, launched by USSR).
    • Hermes Communications Technology Satellite (1976).
    • Experimental geodetic payload (1986).
    • Munin (2000) (Sweden, launched by U.S.).
    • KEO satellite - a space time capsule (2006).
  • Satellite Services:
    • Satellite phone.
    • Satellite Internet.
    • Satellite television.
    • Satellite radio.
  • Anti-satellite weapon.
  • GoldenEye (fictional satellite weapon).
  • Tether satellite.

More About Satellites.

First Galileo Satellite is in Orbit

Dec 29, 2005 - ESA's first Galileo satellite blasted off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome on Wednesday, atop a Russian Soyuz-Fregat rocket. The global positioning spacecraft is called Giove A, and it will demonstrate key technologies that the future Galileo satellites will use as well. It's also carrying radiation detectors on board, to give mission planners an idea of the radiation environment where the constellation will fly.

The Source of Killer Electrons

Dec 22, 2005 - High energy electrons are a menace to space travel. They can disrupt satellite electronics and pose a serious threat to the health of astronauts. Over the past 5 years, ESA's Cluster spacecraft have revealed how these electrons are given so much energy by the Earth's magnetosphere. Scientists now know that intense solar storms can cause the magnetosphere to wobble, releasing a flood of high-energy electrons.

Inmarsat-4 Blasts Off from Sea Launch

Nov 8, 2005 - After yesterday's launch delay, a Zenit-3SL rocket blasted off from Sea Launch's Odyssey Launch Platform carrying the Inmarsat-4 satellite into orbit. Inmarsat-4, one of the heaviest communications satellites ever launched, will provide high-speed mobile communications to customers in the Americas. Early data indicates that the satellite is in excellent condition.

Inmarsat Launch Delayed

Nov 7, 2005 - The launch of Inmarsat-4 F2 from the floating Sea Launch platform has been pushed back a day because a software glitch halted its countdown. Flight controllers say they've resolved the problem, and the countdown should progress smoothly now. Once launched, the Inmarsat-4 F2 will be one of the largest and most powerful communications satellites ever deployed, providing coverage for most of the Americas and into the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans.

Power Problem with SSETI Express

Oct 31, 2005 - Things haven't gone well for the student-built SSETI Express, launched last week from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome on board a Russian Kosmos 3M launcher. Ground controllers haven't been able to make contact with the satellite since Friday, and a preliminary analysis points towards a failure of the satellite's electrical system. Controllers have a plan that might be able to restore power to the satellite, but it will take a few more days to know if it's going to work.

Launcher Caused Cryosat Failure

Oct 27, 2005 - A preliminary investigation by the Russian Failure Investigation State Commission has determined that a flight control system in the Rockot's Breeze upper stage caused the loss of the ESA's Cryosat satellite. The failure occurred when the Breeze didn't generate the command to shut down the second stage's engines. The Commission will present its detailed findings on November 3, 2005 to Eurorockot and the European Space Agency.

Student-Built Satellite Launches

Oct 27, 2005 - A Russian Kosmos 3M launcher blasted off from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome this morning carrying a satellite designed and built by European university students. The Student Space Exploration and Technology Initiative (SSETI Express) satellite is about the size of a washing machine, and contains several detectors and experiments. Students working in 23 different university groups came together through the Internet to design and build the satellite.

Final Titan 4 Launches

Oct 20, 2005 - A Titan 4B rocket carrying a classified cargo for the National Reconnaissance Office blasted off from Vandenberg Air Force Base today. It's believed that the rocket was carrying a next generation reconnaissance satellite. This was the last launch of the Titan 4 class of vehicles. Future launches will use Atlas 5 and Boeing Delta 4 EELVs.

Ariane Rocket Blasts Off with Two Satellites

Oct 14, 2005 - An Ariane 5GS rocket lifted off from Europe's Spaceport in French Guiana today. On board were two satellites: a Syracuse 3A defense satellite, built by Alcatel Alenia Space and a Galaxy 15 communications satellite built by Orbital Sciences Corporation. The satellites were released into their geostationary transfer orbits about 30 minutes after launch. This was the 23rd Ariane 5 launch.

ESA's CryoSat is Ready for Launch

Oct 7, 2005 - ESA's CryoSat ice observation satellite is scheduled for a Saturday launch from Russia's Plesetsk Cosmodrome. Once in orbit, the satellite will used a specialized radar altimeter to measure changes in land and sea ice thickness over a three-year period. Until now, scientists have known that Arctic sea ice is shrinking, but not if it's thinning. Existing Earth observation satellites don't have the resolution to detect smaller pieces of pack ice, so CryoSat will help fill the gaps.

Delta Launches New GPS Satellite

Sep 26, 2005 - A Boeing Delta II rocket successfully launched the first of a new class of modernized Block IIR global positioning system satellites early Monday morning. The rocked lifted off from Space Launch Complex 17A at 0337 GMT (11:37 pm EDT Sunday) from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. This new class of GPS satellites will broadcast additional signals to improve civilian and military accuracy, and prevent any jamming attempts.

Tiny Satellite Could Make a Big Difference

Sep 15, 2005 - A team of Canadian engineers have developed a tiny 3.5 kg satellite that could unleash a whole new industry of microsatellites. The Canadian Advanced Nanospace eXperiment 2 (CanX-2) is about the size of a shoebox, but it packs a mini-spectrometer that will measure greenhouse gasses - for only $1 million in development costs. Future missions will hope to demonstrate how fleets of inexpensive microsatellites might be able to serve the same function as satellites that cost hundreds of millions of dollars to design and manufacture.

Largest Communications Satellite Launched

Aug 11, 2005 - An Ariane 5G rocket blasted off from Europe's spaceport in French Guiana today carrying the largest telecommunications satellite ever to be placed into geostationary transfer orbit. The massive Thaicom 4 (previously named iPSTAR) satellite weighed almost 6500 kg at launch. Thaicom 4 will provide Internet access to customers in Asia, Australia and New Zealand. Arianespace's next scheduled launch will be two satellites on September 29, 2005.

Canada's Humble Space Telescope

Jul 18, 2005 - One of the more productive telescopes in space is the tiny Canadian MOST satellite (Microvariability and Oscillations of Stars). Developed and maintained on a shoestring - $7 million USD - MOST is only the size of a suitcase, but it has a very sensitive instrument which can detect the variations in star brightness. MOST has been used to analyze recently discovered extrasolar planets as they pass in front of their parent stars, and even get some information about their atmospheres.

Cluster spacecraft Give Each Other Some Room

Jul 14, 2005 - The European Space Agency's fleet of 4 Cluster spacecraft put a little more distance between each other, during a difficult repositioning maneuver completed this week. Three of the spacecraft were separated to 10,000 km from each other, with the fourth moving 1,000 km away from the third. By shifting the distance of the spacecraft, from 100 km to 5,000 km, and now 10,000 km, scientists are able to study the Earth's magnetic field at different scales. This maneuver also marks the fleet's fifth year of operation.

Sloan Digital Sky Survey, Part II

Jul 12, 2005 - The Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) is a comprehensive view of the night sky gathered by a dedicated 2.5 m telescope in New Mexico. Astronomers have used this vast database to make many discoveries about our Universe. And now it's going to have a sequel. SDSS II will be a new survey beginning in 2008, and consisting of three parts: a continued mapping of deep space to image distant galaxies and quasars; a detailed survey of our own Milky Way galaxy; and a study of supernovae, to try and help pin down the mysterious dark energy accelerating our Universe.

Japanese Astro-E2 Satellite Launched

Jul 11, 2005 - The Japanese space agency JAXA announced the successful launch of the ASTRO-E2 X-ray satellite on Sunday. A Japanese-built M-5 rocket blasted off from the Uchinoura Space Center carrying the Astro-E2 into orbit. This satellite, renamed Suzuka, is a replacement for the Astro-E satellite, which was destroyed because of a launch failure in 2000. Once it's operational, Suzuka will help astronomers understand the evolution of galaxies and the supermassive black holes at their centres.

Sea Launch Launches Americas-8 Satellite

Jun 23, 2005 - A Zenit-3SL rocket blasted off from the Sea Launch platform today, carrying the Intelsat Americas-8 communications satellite into a geosynchronous transfer orbit. The rocket lifted off from the floating platform at 1403 UTC (10:03 am EDT), and the Block DM-SL upper stage separated without a hitch. The IA-8 satellite will provide broadcast and data services to the Americas, Caribbean, Hawaii and Alaska.

Foton-M2 Mission Returns to Earth

Jun 16, 2005 - The reentry module of the European Space Agency's unmanned Foton-M2 mission has returned to Earth, landing in Kazakhstan, close to the Russian border. The Foton-M2 contained 39 space experiments, including fluid physics, biology, crystal growth, meteoritics, radiation and exobiology. It remained in space for 16 days, and then was de-orbited and landed safely. The spacecraft is being returned to Europe so the various experiments can be returned to the investigators.

Soyuz Launches Foton-M Spacecraft

May 31, 2005 - An unmanned Foton-M spacecraft was launched today on board a Russian Soyuz-U from the Baikonur Cosmodrome. This is a special research satellite for the European Space Agency, which has 39 experiments on board ranging from fluid physics to exobiology. The spacecraft will stay in orbit for 16 days before returning the contents back to Earth safely. The capsule and experiments will be recovered quickly after landing and the time sensitive experiments will be rushed back to researchers in Europe.

Links For Satellites.

AMSAT-NA - Amateur radio satellites.
Amtech, Inc - Provides High Speed internet for Commercial Businesses Nationwide.
International spacecraft Names Glossary - Searchable database of spacecraft and launchy vehicles, listing more than 5000 names and designations with explanations and descriptions.
Net2Dish Broadband Satellite Internet - Net2dish is a low cost, warehouse outlet source for Direcway broadband satellite internet equipment and satellite internet access for business customers.
One Stop Satellite Solutions - OSSS manufactures, supplies, and launches high quality, low cost mini-satellites and space components for academic, testing, research purposes.
OptiStreams Satellite Internet - A global leader in providing satellite Internet service for home, business and government.
Satellite Index Project - A index of past, present and future satellites including ground paths and current orbital elements.
Skycasters Satellite Internet - Skycasters, the largest USA Direcway satellite internet reseller, offers satellite internet access and satellite VPN service to business customers.
Visually Observing Satellites
VSAT Systems Satellite Internet - VSAT Systems offers mid-priced high-performance satellite internet and data solutions including internet and intranet access, satellite VPN, frame relay backup, voice, video and other solutions.
Amateur Radio on the International Space Station
Artemis Project
Braxton Technologies
Columbia Communications Corporation
COM DEV International
Comsat Corporation
Cooperative Research Centre For Satellite Systems
Dundee Satellite Receiving Station
EMS Technologies
Engineering Test Satellite
ESA - Villafranca Satellite Tracking Station
Gilat Satellite Networks
Globecomm Systems
Harris Corporation
Heavens Above
Hughes Electronics
International Telecommunications Union
Iridium Flares
ISO (Infrared Space Observatory) Data Centre
J-Track 3D
Leo One
Mike McCants' Satellite Tracking Web Page
Munin Satellite
New Skies
News About Satellites
ON1CAU Satellite Page
Orbital Sciences
PanAmSat Corporation
Picture of Geostationary Satellites
Planet B Home Page
Radio Amateur Satellite Corporation
Satellite Active Archive
Satellite Center
Satellite Geodetic Observatory
Satellite Journal International
Satellite Media Services
Satellite Observing Resources
Satellite Observing Systems
Satellite Passes over North America Cities
Satellite Remote Sensing
Satellite Tracking Home Page
Society of Satellite Professionals International
Space Amateur Radio EXperiment (SAREX)
SpaceCom Systems
Surrey Satellite Technology
Tele Satellite International
TMI Network
Tromso Satellite Station
University NAVSTAR Consortium
University of New Hampshire Small Satellite Lab
Visual Satellite Observer's Home Page
Visually Observing Earth Satellites

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Universe - Galaxies and Stars: Links and Contacts

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