What is a Satellite?

What is a Satellite?

  • An object orbiting around the sun, earth or any other colossal body is known as a satellite.
  • There are two major types of categorization when it comes down to satellites, one is natural and the other is man-made.
  • Some of the examples of natural satellites are planets, moons, and comets.

  • Jupiter has 67 natural satellites.
  • The earth has one permanent natural satellite, the moon we know, which causes the tides in the sea.
  • Sometimes other objects (like asteroids) can enter into temporary orbits of the earth and become a natural satellite for a span.
  • Apart from these, the earth has many man-made satellites that are placed in orbit and are used for different applications in communications and information gathering.
  • As the term itself states, an artificial satellite is one that is put in our space by human efforts and follows the orbit of natural satellites.
  • Since they have a very large view field, they can collect data a lot faster than instruments that can be used at ground level.
  • Apart from this, their view into space beyond earth is not blocked by clouds, dust and other obscurities, due to which a satellite can view space a lot more efficiently than telescopes on earth.
  • Currently, there are more than 2,500 man-made satellites orbiting the earth.
  • Most of these are of Russian origin.
  • You may wonder why none of these satellites collides with each other, considering the volume.
  • Actually, it is quite possible for this to occur.
  • Although care is taken to launch a satellite in specific orbits such that collisions never occur, these orbits can vary in nature.
  • There are many international organizations in place to prevent such occurrences.
  • However, in 2009, a couple of Russian and American satellites did collide for the first time!
  • The satellites are launched with a specific objective in mind pertaining to several uses such as communications, research in scientific areas, forecasting the weather, and intelligence.
  • Once out in space, all the different types of satellites follow similar physics principles and are governed by the same math equations.

Based on their purpose, there are two kinds of artificial satellites. They are geostationary satellites and polar satellites.

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