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Satellites

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

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.


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