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Types of Artificial Satellites

Learn about various artificial satellites such as military and civilian, Earth observation satellites, communications satellites, navigation satellites, weather satellites, and research satellites. Also learn about Space stations and human spacecraft in orbit.

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Types of Artificial Satellites

  1. 1. Types of Artificial Satellites
  2. 2. Artificial Satellites Types of Artificial Satellites In the context of spaceflight, a satellite is an artificial object which has been intentionally placed into orbit. Such objects are sometimes called artificial satellites to distinguish them from natural satellites such as Earth's Moon. Artificial satellites are used to study the Earth, other planets, to help us communicate, and even to observe the distant Universe. Satellites can even have people in them, like the International Space Station and the Space Shuttle. Satellites are used for a large number of purposes. Common types include military and civilian Earth observation satellites, communications 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.
  3. 3. Astronomical Satellites Types of Artificial Satellites Astronomical satellites are satellites used for observation of distant planets, galaxies, and other outer space objects. An astronomy satellite is basically a really big telescope floating in space. Because it is in orbit above the Earth, the satellite's vision is not clouded by the gases that make up the Earth's atmosphere, and its infrared imaging equipment is not confused by the heat of the Earth.
  4. 4. Weather Satellites Types of Artificial Satellites Weather satellites are primarily used to monitor Earth's weather and climate. Meteorological satellites see more than clouds and cloud systems. City lights, fires, effects of pollution, auroras, sand and dust storms, snow cover, ice mapping, boundaries of ocean currents, energy flows, etc., and other types of environmental information are collected using weather satellites. Other environmental satellites can detect changes in the Earth's vegetation, sea state, ocean color, and ice fields.
  5. 5. Biosatellites Types of Artificial Satellites Biosatellites are satellites designed to carry living organisms, generally for scientific experimentation. Biosatellites are designed to study the biological effects of weightlessness (i.e., zero gravity), cosmic radiation, and the absence of the Earth’s 24-hour day-night rhythm on several plants and animals ranging from a variety of microorganisms to a primate. Such space laboratories were equipped with telemetering equipment with which to monitor the condition of the specimens.
  6. 6. Communications Satellites Types of Artificial Satellites Communications satellites are satellites stationed in space for the purpose of telecommunications. Modern communications satellites typically use geosynchronous orbits, Molniya orbits or Low Earth orbits. A communications satellite is an artificial satellite that relays and amplifies radio telecommunications signals via a transponder; it creates a communication channel between a source transmitter and a receiver at different locations on Earth.
  7. 7. Earth Observation Satellites Types of Artificial Satellites Earth observation satellites are satellites intended for non-military uses such as environmental monitoring, meteorology, map making etc. They are specifically designed for Earth observation from orbit.
  8. 8. Navigational Satellites Types of Artificial Satellites Navigational 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 meters in real time. Navigation satellites are designed expressly to aid the navigation of sea and air traffic.
  9. 9. Crewed Spacecraft Types of Artificial Satellites Crewed spacecraft (spaceships) are large satellites able to put humans into (and beyond) an orbit, and return them to Earth. Spacecraft including spaceplanes of reusable systems have major propulsion or landing facilities. They can be used as transport to and from the orbital stations. Spacecraft carrying people may be operated directly, by human crew, or it may be either remotely operated from ground stations on Earth or be autonomous, able to carry out a specific mission with no human involvement.
  10. 10. Reconnaissance Satellites Types of Artificial Satellites Reconnaissance satellites are Earth observation satellite or communications satellite deployed for military or intelligence applications. Very little is known about the full power of these satellites, as governments who operate them usually keep information pertaining to their reconnaissance satellites classified.
  11. 11. Space Stations Types of Artificial Satellites Space stations are artificial orbital structures that are designed for human beings to live on in outer space. A space station is distinguished from other crewed spacecraft by its lack of major propulsion or landing facilities. Space stations are designed for medium-term living in orbit, for periods of weeks, months, or even years. Today's space stations are research platforms, used to study the effects of long-term space flight on the human body as well as to provide platforms for greater number and length of scientific studies than available on other space vehicles.
  12. 12. Tether Satellites Types of Artificial Satellites Tether satellites are satellites which are connected to another satellite by a thin cable called a tether. Tether satellites can be used for various purposes, including research into tether propulsion, tidal stabilization and orbital plasma dynamics. Space tethers are long cables which can be used for propulsion, momentum exchange, stabilization and altitude control, or maintaining the relative positions of the components of a large dispersed satellite/spacecraft sensor system.
  13. 13. Killer Satellites Types of Artificial Satellites "Killer Satellites" are satellites that are designed to destroy enemy warheads, satellites, and other space assets. Anti-satellite weapons (ASAT) are Space weapons designed to incapacitate or destroy satellites for strategic military purposes.
  14. 14. Recovery Satellites Types of Artificial Satellites Recovery satellites are satellites that provide a recovery of reconnaissance, biological, space-production and other payloads from orbit to Earth.
  15. 15. This presentation is a result of my experiences while I was helping out my son with his school assignments and project work. I am happy to share this with other students and their parents. Hope you find this informative and useful. Thank you. - Prashant Mahajan - All pictures belong to their original authors, photographers.