Satellite

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.

On 4 October 1957 the Soviet Union launched the world's first artificial satellite, Sputnik 1. Since then, about 8,100 satellites from more than 40 countries have been launched. According to a 2018 estimate, some 4,900 remain in orbit, of those about 1,900 were operational; while the rest have lived out their useful lives and become space debris.[1] Approximately 500 operational satellites are in low-Earth orbit, 50 are in medium-Earth orbit (at 20,000 km), and the rest are in geostationary orbit (at 36,000 km).[2] A few large satellites have been launched in parts and assembled in orbit. Over a dozen space probes have been placed into orbit around other bodies and become artificial satellites to the Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, a few asteroids,[3] a comet and the Sun.

Satellites are used for many purposes. Among several other applications, they can be used to make star maps and maps of planetary surfaces, and also take pictures of planets they are launched into. Common types include military and civilian Earth observation satellites, communications satellites, navigation satellites, weather satellites, and space telescopes. 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.

A launch vehicle is a rocket that places a satellite into orbit. Usually, it lifts off from a launch pad on land. Some are launched at sea from a submarine or a mobile maritime platform, or aboard a plane (see air launch to 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.

NASA's Earth-observing fleet as of June 2012.
ERS 2
A full-size model of the Earth observation satellite ERS 2

History

Early conceptions

1986 CPA 5712
Konstantin Tsiolkovsky
Popular Science May 1949
A 1949 issue of Popular Science depicts the idea of an "artificial moon"
ConstellationGPS
Animation depicting the orbits of GPS satellites in medium Earth orbit.

"Newton's cannonball", presented as a "thought experiment" in A Treatise of the System of the World, by Isaac Newton was the first published mathematical study of the possibility of an artificial satellite.

The first fictional depiction of a satellite being launched into orbit was a short story by Edward Everett Hale, The Brick Moon.[4][5] The idea surfaced again in Jules Verne's The Begum's Fortune (1879).

In 1903, Konstantin Tsiolkovsky (1857–1935) published Exploring Space Using Jet Propulsion Devices (in Russian: Исследование мировых пространств реактивными приборами), which is the first academic treatise on the use of rocketry to launch spacecraft. He calculated the orbital speed required for a minimal orbit, and that a multi-stage rocket fuelled by liquid propellants could achieve this.

In 1928, Herman Potočnik (1892–1929) published his sole book, The Problem of Space Travel – The Rocket Motor (German: Das Problem der Befahrung des Weltraums – der Raketen-Motor). He described the use of orbiting spacecraft for observation of the ground and described how the special conditions of space could be useful for scientific experiments.

In a 1945 Wireless World article, the English science fiction writer Arthur C. Clarke (1917–2008) described in detail the possible use of communications satellites for mass communications.[6] He suggested that three geostationary satellites would provide coverage over the entire planet.

The US military studied the idea of what was referred to as the "earth satellite vehicle" when Secretary of Defense James Forrestal made a public announcement on 29 December 1948, that his office was coordinating that project between the various services.[7]

Artificial satellites

Sputnik asm
Sputnik 1: The first artificial satellite to orbit Earth.

The first artificial satellite was Sputnik 1, launched by the Soviet Union on 4 October 1957, and initiating the Soviet Sputnik program, with Sergei Korolev as chief designer. This in turn triggered the Space Race between the Soviet Union and the United States.

Sputnik 1 helped to identify the density of high atmospheric layers through measurement of its orbital change and provided data on radio-signal distribution in the ionosphere. The unanticipated announcement of Sputnik 1's success precipitated the Sputnik crisis in the United States and ignited the so-called Space Race within the Cold War.

Sputnik 2 was launched on 3 November 1957 and carried the first living passenger into orbit, a dog named Laika.[8]

In May, 1946, Project RAND had 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."[9] The United States had been considering launching orbital satellites since 1945 under the Bureau of Aeronautics of the United States Navy. The United States Air Force's Project RAND eventually released the report, but considered the satellite to be a tool for science, politics, and propaganda, rather than a potential military weapon. In 1954, the Secretary of Defense stated, "I know of no American satellite program."[10] In February 1954 Project RAND released "Scientific Uses for a Satellite Vehicle," written by R.R. Carhart.[11] This expanded on potential scientific uses for satellite vehicles and was followed in June 1955 with "The Scientific Use of an Artificial Satellite," by H.K. Kallmann and W.W. Kellogg.[12]

In the context of activities planned for the International Geophysical Year (1957–58), the White House announced on 29 July 1955 that the U.S. intended to launch satellites by the spring of 1958. This became known as Project Vanguard. On 31 July, the Soviets announced that they intended to launch a satellite by the fall of 1957.

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 Army and Navy were working on Project Orbiter, two competing programs: the army's which involved using a Jupiter C rocket, and the civilian/Navy Vanguard Rocket, to launch a satellite. At first, they failed: initial preference was given to the Vanguard program, whose first attempt at orbiting a satellite resulted in the explosion of the launch vehicle on national television. But finally, three months after Sputnik 2, the project succeeded; Explorer 1 became the United States' first artificial satellite on 31 January 1958.[13]

In June 1961, three-and-a-half years after the launch of Sputnik 1, the Air Force used resources of the United States Space Surveillance Network to catalog 115 Earth-orbiting satellites.[14]

Early satellites were constructed as "one-off" designs. With growth in geosynchronous (GEO) satellite communication, multiple satellites began to be built on single model platforms called satellite buses. The first standardized satellite bus design was the HS-333 GEO commsat, launched in 1972.

Currently the largest artificial satellite ever is the International Space Station.

ESTCube-1 illustration
1U CubeSat ESTCube-1, developed mainly by the students from the University of Tartu, carries out a tether deployment experiment in low Earth orbit.

Space Surveillance Network

The United States Space Surveillance Network (SSN), a division of the United States Strategic Command, has been tracking objects in Earth's orbit since 1957 when the Soviet Union opened the Space Age with the launch of Sputnik I. Since then, the SSN has tracked more than 26,000 objects. The SSN currently tracks more than 8,000-man-made orbiting objects. The rest have re-entered Earth's atmosphere and disintegrated, or survived re-entry and impacted the Earth. The SSN tracks objects that are 10 centimeters in diameter or larger; those now orbiting Earth range from satellites weighing several tons to pieces of spent rocket bodies weighing only 10 pounds. About seven percent are operational satellites (i.e. ~560 satellites), the rest are space debris.[15] The United States Strategic Command is primarily interested in the active satellites, but also tracks space debris which upon reentry might otherwise be mistaken for incoming missiles.

Non-military satellite services

There are three basic categories of non-military satellite services:[16]

Fixed satellite services

Fixed satellite services handle hundreds of billions of voice, data, and video transmission tasks across all countries and continents between certain points on the Earth's surface.

Mobile satellite systems

Mobile satellite systems help connect remote regions, vehicles, ships, people and aircraft to other parts of the world and/or other mobile or stationary communications units, in addition to serving as navigation systems.

Scientific research satellites (commercial and noncommercial)

Scientific research satellites provide meteorological information, land survey data (e.g. remote sensing), Amateur (HAM) Radio, and other different scientific research applications such as earth science, marine science, and atmospheric research.

Types

International Space Station after undocking of STS-132
International Space Station
  • Space-based solar power satellites are proposed satellites that would collect energy from sunlight and transmit it for use on Earth or other places.
  • 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.
  • Tether satellites are satellites which are connected to another satellite by a thin cable called a tether.
  • Weather satellites are primarily used to monitor Earth's weather and climate.[18]

Orbit types

Orbits around earth scale diagram
Various earth orbits to scale; cyan represents low earth orbit, yellow represents medium earth orbit, the black dashed line represents geosynchronous orbit, the green dash-dot line the orbit of Global Positioning System (GPS) satellites, and the red dotted line the orbit of the International Space Station (ISS).

The first satellite, Sputnik 1, was put into orbit around Earth and was therefore in geocentric orbit. By far this is the most common type of orbit with approximately 1,886[19] artificial satellites orbiting the Earth. Geocentric orbits may be further classified by their altitude, inclination and eccentricity.

The commonly used altitude classifications of geocentric orbit are Low Earth orbit (LEO), Medium Earth orbit (MEO) and High Earth orbit (HEO). Low Earth orbit is any orbit below 2,000 km. Medium Earth orbit is any orbit between 2,000 and 35,786 km. High Earth orbit is any orbit higher than 35,786 km.

Centric classifications

The general structure of a satellite is that it is connected to the earth stations that are present on the ground and connected through terrestrial links.

Altitude classifications

  • Low Earth orbit (LEO): Geocentric orbits ranging in altitude from 180 km – 2,000 km (1,200 mi)
  • Medium Earth orbit (MEO): Geocentric orbits ranging in altitude from 2,000 km (1,200 mi) – 35,786 km (22,236 mi). Also known as an intermediate circular orbit.
  • Geosynchronous orbit (GEO): Geocentric circular orbit with an altitude of 35,786 kilometres (22,236 mi). The period of the orbit equals one sidereal day, coinciding with the rotation period of the Earth. The speed is approximately 3,000 metres per second (9,800 ft/s).
  • High Earth orbit (HEO): Geocentric orbits above the altitude of geosynchronous orbit 35,786 km (22,236 mi).
Orbitalaltitudes
Orbital Altitudes of several significant satellites of earth.

Inclination classifications

  • Inclined orbit: An orbit whose inclination in reference to the equatorial plane is not zero degrees.
    • 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 nearly 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 orbit that moves a spacecraft from one approximately circular orbit, usually the orbit of a planet, to another, using two engine impulses. The perihelion of the transfer orbit is at the same distance from the Sun as the radius of one planet's orbit, and the aphelion is at the other. The two rocket burns change the spacecraft's path from one circular orbit to the transfer orbit, and later to the other circular orbit. 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 63.4° and orbital period of half of a sidereal day (roughly 12 hours). Such a satellite spends most of its time over two designated areas of the planet (specifically Russia and the United States).
    • Tundra orbit: A highly elliptic orbit with inclination of 63.4° and orbital period of one sidereal day (roughly 24 hours). Such a satellite spends most of its time over a single designated area of 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 (12,600 mi) and an orbital period equal to one-half of the average rotational period (Earth's is approximately 12 hours) of the body being orbited
  • Geosynchronous orbit (GSO): Orbits with an altitude of approximately 35,786 km (22,236 mi). Such a satellite would trace an analemma (figure 8) in the sky.
  • 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 17000 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: A 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

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.
  • Suborbital spaceflight: A maneuver where a spacecraft approaches the height of orbit but lacks the velocity to sustain it.
  • Lunar transfer orbit (LTO)
  • Prograde orbit: An orbit with an inclination of less than 90°. 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 90°. Or rather, an orbit counter to the direction of rotation of the planet. Apart from those in sun-synchronous orbit, few 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.
  • Halo orbit and Lissajous orbit: Orbits "around" Lagrangian points.

Satellite subsystems

The satellite's functional versatility is imbedded within its technical components and its operations characteristics. Looking at the "anatomy" of a typical satellite, one discovers two modules.[16] Note that some novel architectural concepts such as Fractionated spacecraft somewhat upset this taxonomy.

Spacecraft bus or service module

The bus module consists of the following subsystems:

Structural subsystem

The structural subsystem provides the mechanical base structure with adequate stiffness to withstand stress and vibrations experienced during launch, maintain structural integrity and stability while on station in orbit, and shields the satellite from extreme temperature changes and micro-meteorite damage.

Telemetry subsystem

The telemetry subsystem (aka Command and Data Handling, C&DH) monitors the on-board equipment operations, transmits equipment operation data to the earth control station, and receives the earth control station's commands to perform equipment operation adjustments.

Power subsystem

The power subsystem consists of solar panels to convert solar energy into electrical power, regulation and distribution functions, and batteries that store power and supply the satellite when it passes into the Earth's shadow. Nuclear power sources (Radioisotope thermoelectric generator) have also been used in several successful satellite programs including the Nimbus program (1964–1978).[21]

Thermal control subsystem

The thermal control subsystem helps protect electronic equipment from extreme temperatures due to intense sunlight or the lack of sun exposure on different sides of the satellite's body (e.g. optical solar reflector)

Attitude and orbit control subsystem

The attitude and orbit control subsystem consists of sensors to measure vehicle orientation, control laws embedded in the flight software, and actuators (reaction wheels, thrusters). These apply the torques and forces needed to re-orient the vehicle to a desired attitude, keep the satellite in the correct orbital position, and keep antennas pointed in the right directions.

Communication payload

The second major module is the communication payload, which is made up of transponders. A transponder is capable of :

  • Receiving uplinked radio signals from earth satellite transmission stations (antennas).
  • Amplifying received radio signals
  • Sorting the input signals and directing the output signals through input/output signal multiplexers to the proper downlink antennas for retransmission to earth satellite receiving stations (antennas).

End of life

When satellites reach the end of their mission (this normally occurs within 3 or 4 years after launch), satellite operators have the option of de-orbiting the satellite, leaving the satellite in its current orbit or moving the satellite to a graveyard orbit. Historically, due to budgetary constraints at the beginning of satellite missions, satellites were rarely designed to be de-orbited. One example of this practice is the satellite Vanguard 1. Launched in 1958, Vanguard 1, the 4th manmade satellite put in Geocentric orbit, was still in orbit as of March 2015, as well as the upper stage of its launch rocket.[22][23]

Instead of being de-orbited, most satellites are either left in their current orbit or moved to a graveyard orbit.[24] As of 2002, the FCC requires all geostationary satellites to commit to moving to a graveyard orbit at the end of their operational life prior to launch.[25] In cases of uncontrolled de-orbiting, the major variable is the solar flux, and the minor variables the components and form factors of the satellite itself, and the gravitational perturbations generated by the Sun and the Moon (as well as those exercised by large mountain ranges, whether above or below sea level). The nominal breakup altitude due to aerodynamic forces and temperatures is 78 km, with a range between 72 and 84 km. Solar panels, however, are destroyed before any other component at altitudes between 90 and 95 km.[26]

Launch-capable countries

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 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. The list does not include the European Space Agency, a multi-national state organization, nor private consortiums.

First launch by country
Order Country Date of first launch Rocket Satellite(s)
1 Soviet Union 4 October 1957 Sputnik-PS Sputnik 1
2 United States 1 February 1958 Juno I Explorer 1
3 France 26 November 1965 Diamant-A Astérix
4 Japan 11 February 1970 Lambda-4S Ohsumi
5 China 24 April 1970 Long March 1 Dong Fang Hong I
6 United Kingdom 28 October 1971 Black Arrow Prospero
7 India 18 July 1980 SLV Rohini D1
8 Israel 19 September 1988 Shavit Ofeq 1
[1] Russia 21 January 1992 Soyuz-U Kosmos 2175
[1] Ukraine 13 July 1992 Tsyklon-3 Strela
9 Iran 2 February 2009 Safir-1 Omid
10 North Korea 12 December 2012 Unha-3 Kwangmyŏngsŏng-3 Unit 2
11 South Korea 30 January 2013 Naro-1 STSAT-2C
12 New Zealand 12 November 2018 Electron CubeSat

Attempted first launches

  • The United States tried in 1957 to launch the first satellite using its own launcher before successfully completing a launch in 1958.
  • Japan tried four times in 1966–1969 to launch a satellite with its own launcher before successfully completing a launch in 1970.
  • China tried in 1969 to launch the first satellite using its own launcher before successfully completing a launch in 1970.
  • India, after launching its first national satellite using a foreign launcher in 1975, tried in 1979 to launch the first satellite using its own launcher before succeeding in 1980.
  • Iraq have claimed an orbital launch of a warhead in 1989, but this claim was later disproved.[30]
  • Brazil, after launching its first national satellite using a foreign launcher in 1985, tried to launch a satellite using its own VLS 1 launcher three times in 1997, 1999, and 2003, but all attempts were unsuccessful.
  • North Korea claimed a launch of Kwangmyŏngsŏng-1 and Kwangmyŏngsŏng-2 satellites in 1998 and 2009, but U.S., Russian and other officials and weapons experts later reported that the rockets failed to send a satellite into orbit, if that was the goal. The United States, Japan and South Korea believe this was actually a ballistic missile test, which was a claim also made after North Korea's 1998 satellite launch, and later rejected. The first (April 2012) launch of Kwangmyŏngsŏng-3 was unsuccessful, a fact publicly recognized by the DPRK. However, the December 2012 launch of the "second version" of Kwangmyŏngsŏng-3 was successful, putting the DPRK's first confirmed satellite into orbit.
  • South Korea (Korea Aerospace Research Institute), after launching their first national satellite by foreign launcher in 1992, unsuccessfully tried to launch its own launcher, the KSLV (Naro)-1, (created with the assistance of Russia) in 2009 and 2010 until success was achieved in 2013 by Naro-3.
  • The First European multi-national state organization ELDO tried to make the orbital launches at Europa I and Europa II rockets in 1968–1970 and 1971 but stopped operation after failures.

Other notes

  • ^ Russia and the Ukraine were parts of the Soviet Union and thus inherited their launch capability without the need to develop it indigenously. Through the Soviet Union they are also on the number one position in this list of accomplishments.
  • France, the United Kingdom, and Ukraine launched their first satellites by own launchers from foreign spaceports.
  • Some countries such as South Africa, Spain, Italy, Germany, Canada, Australia, Argentina, Egypt and private companies such as OTRAG, have developed their own launchers, but have not had a successful launch.
  • Only twelve, countries from the list below (USSR, USA, France, Japan, China, UK, India, Russia, Ukraine, Israel, Iran and North Korea) and one regional organization (the European Space Agency, ESA) have independently launched satellites on their own indigenously developed launch vehicles.
  • Several other countries, including Brazil, Argentina, Pakistan, Romania, Taiwan, Indonesia, Australia, Malaysia, Turkey and Switzerland are at various stages of development of their own small-scale launcher capabilities.

Launch capable private entities

  • Private firm Orbital Sciences Corporation, with launches since 1982, continues very successful launches of its Minotaur, Pegasus, Taurus and Antares rocket programs.
  • On 28 September 2008, late comer and private aerospace firm SpaceX successfully launched its Falcon 1 rocket into orbit. This marked the first time that a privately built liquid-fueled booster was able to reach orbit.[31] The rocket carried a prism shaped 1.5 m (5 ft) long payload mass simulator that was set into orbit. The dummy satellite, known as Ratsat, will remain in orbit for between five and ten years before burning up in the atmosphere.[31]

A few other private companies are capable of sub-orbital launches.

First satellites of countries

First satellites of countries including those launched indigenously or with the help of others[32]
Country Year of first launch First satellite Operational payloads in orbit as of July 2018
Soviet Union
(Russia)
1957
(1992)
Sputnik 1
(Kosmos 2175)
1507
United States 1958 Explorer 1 1619
United Kingdom 1962 Ariel 1 43
Canada 1962 Alouette 1 48
Italy 1964 San Marco 1 27
France 1965 Astérix 68
Australia 1967 WRESAT 21
Germany 1969 Azur 54
Japan 1970 Ohsumi 173
China 1970 Dong Fang Hong I 312
Netherlands 1974 ANS 6
Spain 1974 Intasat 24
India 1975 Aryabhata 88
Indonesia 1976 Palapa A1 16
Czechoslovakia 1978 Magion 1 2
Bulgaria 1981 Intercosmos Bulgaria 1300 1
Saudi Arabia 1985 Arabsat-1A 13
Brazil 1985 Brasilsat-A1 17
Mexico 1985 Morelos 1 12
Sweden 1986 Viking 12
Israel 1988 Ofeq 1 17
Luxembourg 1988 Astra 1A 4
Argentina 1990 Lusat[33] 19
Hong Kong 1990 AsiaSat 1 9
Pakistan 1990 Badr-1 6
South Korea 1992 Kitsat A 24
Portugal 1993 PoSAT-1 2
Thailand 1993 Thaicom 1 9
Turkey 1994 Turksat 1B 15
Czech Republic 1995 Magion 4 3
Ukraine 1995 Sich-1 6
Malaysia 1996 MEASAT 7
Norway 1997 Thor 2 9
Philippines 1997 Mabuhay 1 2
Egypt 1998 Nilesat 101 5
Chile 1998 FASat-Bravo 3
Singapore 1998 ST-1[34][35] 10
Taiwan 1999 ROCSAT-1 10
Denmark 1999 Ørsted 9
South Africa 1999 SUNSAT 6
United Arab Emirates 2000 Thuraya 1 9
Morocco 2001 Maroc-Tubsat 1
Belgium 2001 PROBA-1 0
Tonga[36] 2002 Esiafi 1 (former Comstar D4) 0
Algeria 2002 Alsat 1 6
Greece 2003 Hellas Sat 2 4
Cyprus 2003 Hellas Sat 2 0
Nigeria 2003 Nigeriasat 1 6
Iran 2005 Sina-1 1
Kazakhstan 2006 KazSat 1 6
Colombia 2007 Libertad 1 0
Mauritius 2007 Rascom-QAF 1 0
Vietnam 2008 Vinasat-1 3
Venezuela 2008 Venesat-1 3
Switzerland 2009 SwissCube-1[37] 0
Isle of Man 2011 ViaSat-1 1
Poland[38] 2012 PW-Sat 4
Hungary 2012 MaSat-1 0
Sri Lanka 2012 SupremeSAT-1 1
Romania 2012 Goliat[39] 0
Belarus 2012 BKA (BelKA-2)[40] 2
North Korea 2012 Kwangmyŏngsŏng-3 Unit 2 2
Azerbaijan 2013 Azerspace[41] 1
Austria 2013 TUGSAT-1/UniBRITE[42][43] 0
Bermuda[44] 2013 Bermudasat 1 (former EchoStar VI) 0
Ecuador 2013 NEE-01 Pegaso 2
Estonia 2013 ESTCube-1 1
Jersey 2013 O3b-1, −2, −3, −4 0
Qatar 2013 Es'hailSat1 0
Peru 2013 PUCPSAT-1[45] 2
Bolivia 2013 TKSat-1 1
Lithuania 2014 LituanicaSAT-1 and LitSat-1 1
Uruguay 2014 Antelsat 1
Iraq 2014 Tigrisat[46] 0
Turkmenistan 2015 TurkmenAlem52E/MonacoSAT 1
Laos 2015 Laosat-1 1
Finland 2017 Aalto-2 1
Bangladesh 2017 BRAC Onnesha and Bangabandhu-1 2
Ghana 2017 GhanaSat-1[47] 1
Mongolia 2017 Mazaalai 1
Latvia 2017 Venta-1 1
Slovakia 2017 skCUBE 1
Asgardia 2017 Asgardia-1 1
Angola 2017 AngoSat 1 1
New Zealand 2018 Humanity Star 1
Costa Rica 2018 Proyecto Irazú 1
Kenya 2018 1KUNS-PF 1
Bhutan 2018 CubeSat Bhutan-1[48] 1
Jordan 2018 JY1-SAT 1
Space capabilities - launch and satellite
  orbital launch and satellite operation
  satellite operation, launched by foreign supplier
  satellite in development
  orbital launch project at advanced stage or indigenous ballistic missiles deployed

While Canada was the third country to build a satellite which was launched into space,[49] it was launched aboard an American rocket from an American spaceport. The same goes for Australia, who launched first satellite involved a donated U.S. Redstone rocket and American support staff as well as a joint launch facility with the United Kingdom.[50] The first Italian satellite San Marco 1 launched on 15 December 1964 on a U.S. Scout rocket from Wallops Island (Virginia, United States) with an Italian launch team trained by NASA.[51] By similar occasions, almost all further first national satellites was launched by foreign rockets.

Attempted first satellites

  • United States tried unsuccessfully to launch its first satellite in 1957; they were successful in 1958.
  • China tried unsuccessfully to launch its first satellite in 1969; they were successful in 1970.
  • Iraq under Saddam Hussein fulfilled in 1989 an unconfirmed launch of warhead on orbit by developed Iraqi vehicle that intended to put later the 75 kg first national satellite Al-Ta’ir, also developed.[52][53]
  • Chile tried unsuccessfully in 1995 to launch its first satellite FASat-Alfa by foreign rocket; in 1998 they were successful.†
  • North Korea has tried in 1998, 2009, 2012 to launch satellites, first successful launch on 12 December 2012.[54]
  • Libya since 1996 developed its own national Libsat satellite project with the goal of providing telecommunication and remote sensing services[55] that was postponed after the fall of Gaddafi.
  • Belarus tried unsuccessfully in 2006 to launch its first satellite BelKA by foreign rocket.†

†-note: Both Chile and Belarus used Russian companies as principal contractors to build their satellites, they used Russian-Ukrainian manufactured rockets and launched either from Russia or Kazakhstan.

Planned first satellites

  • Afghanistan announced in April 2012 that it is planning to launch its first communications satellite to the orbital slot it has been awarded. The satellite Afghansat 1 was expected to be obtained by a Eutelsat commercial company in 2014.[56][57]
  • Armenia in 2012 founded Armcosmos company[58] and announced an intention to have the first telecommunication satellite ArmSat. The investments estimates as $250 million and country selecting the contractor for building within 4 years the satellite amongst Russia, China and Canada[59][60][61]
  • Cambodia's Royal Group plans to purchase for $250–350 million and launch in the beginning of 2013 the telecommunication satellite.[62]
  • Cayman Islands's Global IP Cayman private company plans to launch GiSAT-1 geostationary communications satellite in 2018.
  • Democratic Republic of Congo ordered at November 2012 in China (Academy of Space Technology (CAST) and Great Wall Industry Corporation (CGWIC)) the first telecommunication satellite CongoSat-1 which will be built on DFH-4 satellite bus platform and will be launched in China till the end of 2015.[63]
  • Croatia has a goal to construct a satellite by 2013–2014. Launch into Earth orbit would be done by a foreign provider.[64]
  • Ethiopian Space Science Society[65] planning the QB50-family research CubeSat ET-SAT by help of Belgian Von Karman Institute till 2015[66] and the small (20–25 kg) Earth observation and remote sensing satellite Ethosat 1 by help of Finnish Space Technology and Science Group till 2019.[67]
  • Ireland's team of Dublin Institute of Technology intends to launch the first Irish satellite within European University program CubeSat QB50.[68]
  • Jordan's first satellite to be the private amateur pocketqube SunewnewSat.[69][70][71]
  • Republic of Moldova's first remote sensing satellite plans to start in 2013 by Space centre at national Technical University.[72]
  • Myanmar plans to purchase for $200 million their own telecommunication satellite.[73]
  • Nepal stated that planning to launch of own telecommunication satellite before 2015 by help of India or China.[74][75][76]
  • Nicaragua ordered for $254 million at November 2013 in China the first telecommunication satellite Nicasat-1 (to be built at DFH-4 satellite bus platform by CAST and CGWIC), that planning to launch in China at 2016.[77]
  • Paraguay under new Agencia Espacial del Paraguay –- AEP airspace agency plans first Eart observation satellite.[78][79]
  • Serbia's first satellite Tesla-1 was designed, developed and assembled by nongovermental organisations in 2009 but still remains unlaunched.
  • Slovenia's Earth observation microsatellite for the Slovenian Centre of Excellence for Space Sciences and Technologies (Space-SI) now under development for $2 million since 2010 by University of Toronto Institute for Aerospace Studies – Space Flight Laboratory (UTIAS – SFL) and planned to launch in 2015–2016.[80][81]
  • Sri Lanka has a goal to construct two satellites beside of rent the national SupremeSAT payload in Chinese satellites. Sri Lankan Telecommunications Regulatory Commission has signed an agreement with Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd to get relevant help and resources. Launch into Earth orbit would be done by a foreign provider.[82][83]
  • Syrian Space Research Center developing CubeSat-like small first national satellite since 2008.[84]
  • Tunisia is developing its first satellite, ERPSat01. Consisting of a CubeSat of 1 kg mass, it will be developed by the Sfax School of Engineering. ERPSat satellite is planned to be launched into orbit in 2013.[85]
  • Uzbekistan's State Space Research Agency (UzbekCosmos) announced in 2001 about intention of launch in 2002 first remote sensing satellite.[86] Later in 2004 was stated that two satellites (remote sensing and telecommunication) will be built by Russia for $60–70 million each[87]

Attacks on satellites

In recent times, satellites have been hacked by militant organizations to broadcast propaganda and to pilfer classified information from military communication networks.[88][89]

For testing purposes, satellites in low earth orbit have been destroyed by ballistic missiles launched from earth. Russia, the United States and China have demonstrated the ability to eliminate satellites.[90] In 2007 the Chinese military shot down an aging weather satellite,[90] followed by the US Navy shooting down a defunct spy satellite in February 2008.[91]

Jamming

Due to the low received signal strength of satellite transmissions, they are prone to jamming by land-based transmitters. Such jamming is limited to the geographical area within the transmitter's range. GPS satellites are potential targets for jamming,[92][93] but satellite phone and television signals have also been subjected to jamming.[94][95]

Also, it is very easy to transmit a carrier radio signal to a geostationary satellite and thus interfere with the legitimate uses of the satellite's transponder. It is common for Earth stations to transmit at the wrong time or on the wrong frequency in commercial satellite space, and dual-illuminate the transponder, rendering the frequency unusable. Satellite operators now have sophisticated monitoring that enables them to pinpoint the source of any carrier and manage the transponder space effectively.

Earth observation using satellites

During the last five decades, space agencies have sent thousands of space crafts, space capsules, or satellites to the universe. In fact, weathermen make forecasts on the weather and natural calamities based on observations from these satellites.[96]

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)[97] requested the National Academies to publish a report entitled, Earth Observations from Space; The First 50 Years of Scientific Achievements in 2008. It described how the capability to view the whole globe simultaneously from satellite observations revolutionized studies about the planet Earth. This development brought about a new age of combined Earth sciences. The National Academies report concluded that continuing Earth observations from the galaxy are necessary to resolve scientific and social challenges in the future.[98]

NASA

The NASA introduced an Earth Observing System (EOS)[99] composed of several satellites, science component, and data system described as the Earth Observing System Data and Information System (EOSDIS). It disseminates numerous science data products as well as services designed for interdisciplinary education. EOSDIS data can be accessed online and accessed through File Transfer Protocol (FTP) and Hyper Text Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS).[100] Scientists and researchers perform EOSDIS science operations within a distributed platform of multiple interconnected nodes or Science Investigator-led Processing Systems (SIPS) and discipline-specific Distributed Active Archive Centers (DACCs).[101]

ESA

The European Space Agency[102] has plans to launch a satellite for Earth observation. This will be equipped with an artificial intelligence (AI) processor that will allow the spacecraft to make decisions on images to capture and data to transmit to the Earth.[103] BrainSat will use the Intel Myriad X vision processing unit (VPU). The launching will be scheduled in 2019. ESA director for Earth Observation Programs Josef Aschbaher made the announcement during the PhiWeek in November 2018.[104] This is the five-day meet that focused on the future of Earth observation. The conference was held at the ESA Center for Earth Observation in Frascati, Italy.[103] ESA also launched the PhiLab, referring to the future-focused team that works to harness the potentials of AI and other disruptive innovations.[105] Meanwhile, the ESA also announced that it expects to commence the qualification flight of the Space Rider space plane in 2021. This will come after several demonstration missions.[106] Space Rider is the sequel of the Agency's Intermediate Experimental vehicle (IXV) which was launched in 2015. It has the capacity payload of 800 kilograms for orbital missions that will last a maximum of two months.[107]

SpaceX

SpaceX was scheduled to launch a multiple satellite mission on November 28, 2018 from the United States Vandenberg Air Force Base after an initial November 19 schedule. The launch is expected to be visible once the rocket heads toward the south into an Earth observation trajectory traveling over the opposites.[108] However, the second supposed launched was delayed again because of poor weather conditions and set for another date which is not yet definite.[109] The mission is known as the SSO-A Smallsat Express is another landmark for Elon Musk, founder of SpaceX which had 19 rocket launches in 2018 alone. The estimated cost of this Falcon 9 rocket is approximately $62 million. The rocket has 64 satellites with each one going separate ways.[109]

Amazon and Lockheed

Amazon Web Services (AWS)[110] and Lockheed Martin[111] entered into a strategic partnership for the purpose of integrating the AWS ground station service with Lockheed's verge antenna network. These two corporations aim to merge these highly-capable systems that will provide clients with robust satellite uplinks and downlinks. Through these systems, users can incorporate satellite data with various AWS services which include computing, storage, analytics, and machine-learning.[112]

Satellite services

See also

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External links

BeiDou Navigation Satellite System

The BeiDou Navigation Satellite System (BDS) (Chinese: 北斗卫星导航系统; pinyin: běi dǒu wèi xīng dǎo háng xì tǒng [pèi tòu wêi ɕíŋ tàu xǎŋ ɕî tʰʊ̀ŋ]) is a Chinese satellite navigation system. It consists of two separate satellite constellations. The first BeiDou system, officially called the BeiDou Satellite Navigation Experimental System and also known as BeiDou-1, consists of three satellites which since 2000 has offered limited coverage and navigation services, mainly for users in China and neighboring regions. Beidou-1 was decommissioned at the end of 2012.

The second generation of the system, officially called the BeiDou Navigation Satellite System (BDS) and also known as COMPASS or BeiDou-2, became operational in China in December 2011 with a partial constellation of 10 satellites in orbit. Since December 2012, it has been offering services to customers in the Asia-Pacific region.In 2015, China started the build-up of the third generation BeiDou system (BeiDou-3) in the global coverage constellation. The first BDS-3 satellite was launched on 30 March 2015. As of January 2018, nine BeiDou-3 satellites have been launched. BeiDou-3 will eventually consist of 35 satellites and is expected to provide global services upon completion in 2020. When fully completed, BeiDou will provide an alternative global navigation satellite system to the United States owned Global Positioning System (GPS), the Russian GLONASS or European Galileo systems and is expected to be more accurate than these. It was claimed in 2016 that BeiDou-3 will reach millimeter-level accuracy (with post-processing).According to China Daily, in 2015, fifteen years after the satellite system was launched, it was generating a turnover of $31.5 billion per annum for major companies such as China Aerospace Science and Industry Corp, AutoNavi Holdings Ltd, and China North Industries Group Corp.On 27 December 2018, BeiDou Navigation Satellite System started to provide global services.

Cable television

Cable television is a system of delivering television programming to consumers via radio frequency (RF) signals transmitted through coaxial cables, or in more recent systems, light pulses through fiber-optic cables. This contrasts with broadcast television (also known as terrestrial television), in which the television signal is transmitted over the air by radio waves and received by a television antenna attached to the television; or satellite television, in which the television signal is transmitted by a communications satellite orbiting the Earth and received by a satellite dish on the roof. FM radio programming, high-speed Internet, telephone services, and similar non-television services may also be provided through these cables. Analog television was standard in the 20th century, but since the 2000s, cable systems have been upgraded to digital cable operation.

A "cable channel" (sometimes known as a "cable network") is a television network available via cable television. When available through satellite television, including direct broadcast satellite providers such as DirecTV, Dish Network and Sky, as well as via IPTV providers such as Verizon FIOS and AT&T U-verse is referred to as a "satellite channel". Alternative terms include "non-broadcast channel" or "programming service", the latter being mainly used in legal contexts. Examples of cable/satellite channels/cable networks available in many countries are HBO, Cinemax, MTV, Cartoon Network, AXN, E!, Fox Life, Discovery Channel, Canal+, Eurosport, Fox Sports, Disney Channel, Nickelodeon, CNN International, ESPN, GMA Pinoy TV and The Filipino Channel.

The abbreviation CATV is often used for cable television. It originally stood for Community Access Television or Community Antenna Television, from cable television's origins in 1948. In areas where over-the-air TV reception was limited by distance from transmitters or mountainous terrain, large "community antennas" were constructed, and cable was run from them to individual homes. The origins of cable broadcasting for radio are even older as radio programming was distributed by cable in some European cities as far back as 1924.

Communications satellite

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. Communications satellites are used for television, telephone, radio, internet, and military applications. There are 2,134 communications satellites in Earth’s orbit, used by both private and government organizations. Many are in geostationary orbit 22,200 miles (35,700 km) above the equator, so that the satellite appears stationary at the same point in the sky, so the satellite dish antennas of ground stations can be aimed permanently at that spot and do not have to move to track it.

The high frequency radio waves used for telecommunications links travel by line of sight and so are obstructed by the curve of the Earth. The purpose of communications satellites is to relay the signal around the curve of the Earth allowing communication between widely separated geographical points. Communications satellites use a wide range of radio and microwave frequencies. To avoid signal interference, international organizations have regulations for which frequency ranges or "bands" certain organizations are allowed to use. This allocation of bands minimizes the risk of signal interference.

DirecTV

DirecTV is an American direct broadcast satellite service provider based in El Segundo, California and is a subsidiary of AT&T. Its satellite service, launched on June 17, 1994, transmits digital satellite television and audio to households in the United States, Latin America, Americas and the Caribbean. Its primary competitors are Dish Network and cable television providers. On July 24, 2015, after receiving approval from the United States Federal Communications Commission and United States Department of Justice, AT&T acquired DirecTV in a transaction valued at $67.1 billion.As of Q1 2017, DirecTV U.S. had 21 million subscribers (26 million if combined with U-verse) and revenues of $12 billion.

On November 30, 2016, DirecTV Now, their internet streaming TV service, was launched.

Galileo (satellite navigation)

Galileo is the global navigation satellite system (GNSS) that went live in 2016, created by the European Union (EU) through the European GNSS Agency (GSA), headquartered in Prague in the Czech Republic, with two ground operations centres, Oberpfaffenhofen near Munich in Germany and Fucino in Italy. The €10 billion project is named after the Italian astronomer Galileo Galilei. One of the aims of Galileo is to provide an independent high-precision positioning system so European nations do not have to rely on the U.S. GPS, or the Russian GLONASS systems, which could be disabled or degraded by their operators at any time.

The use of basic (lower-precision) Galileo services will be free and open to everyone. The higher-precision capabilities will be available for paying commercial users. Galileo is intended to provide horizontal and vertical position measurements within 1-metre precision, and better positioning services at higher latitudes than other positioning systems.

Galileo is also to provide a new global search and rescue (SAR) function as part of the MEOSAR system.

The first Galileo test satellite, the GIOVE-A, was launched 28 December 2005, while the first satellite to be part of the operational system was launched on 21 October 2011. As of July 2018, 26 of the planned 30 active satellites are in orbit. Galileo started offering Early Operational Capability (EOC) on 15 December 2016, providing initial services with a weak signal, and is expected to reach Full Operational Capability (FOC) in 2019. The complete 30-satellite Galileo system (24 operational and 6 active spares) is expected by 2020. It is expected that the next generation of satellites will begin to become operational by 2025 to replace older equipment. Older systems can then be used for backup capabilities.

There are 22 satellites in usable condition (satellite is operational and contributing to the service provision), 2 satellites are in "testing" and 2 more are marked as not available. .

Geostationary orbit

A geostationary orbit, often referred to as a geosynchronous equatorial orbit (GEO), is a circular geosynchronous orbit 35,786 km (22,236 mi) above Earth's equator and following the direction of Earth's rotation. An object in such an orbit appears motionless, at a fixed position in the sky, to ground observers. Communications satellites and weather satellites are often placed in geostationary orbits, so that the satellite antennae (located on Earth) that communicate with them do not have to rotate to track them, but can be pointed permanently at the position in the sky where the satellites are located. Using this characteristic, ocean-color monitoring satellites with visible and near-infrared light sensors (e.g. GOCI) can also be operated in geostationary orbit in order to monitor sensitive changes of ocean environments.

A geostationary orbit is a particular type of geosynchronous orbit, which has an orbital period equal to Earth's rotational period, or one sidereal day (23 hours, 56 minutes, 4 seconds). Thus, the distinction is that, while an object in geosynchronous orbit returns to the same point in the sky at the same time each day, an object in geostationary orbit never leaves that position. Geosynchronous orbits move around relative to a point on Earth's surface because, while geostationary orbits have an inclination of 0° with respect to the Equator, geosynchronous orbits have varying inclinations and eccentricities.

Global Positioning System

The Global Positioning System (GPS), originally Navstar GPS, is a satellite-based radionavigation system owned by the United States government and operated by the United States Air Force. It is a global navigation satellite system that provides geolocation and time information to a GPS receiver anywhere on or near the Earth where there is an unobstructed line of sight to four or more GPS satellites. Obstacles such as mountains and buildings block the relatively weak GPS signals.

The GPS does not require the user to transmit any data, and it operates independently of any telephonic or internet reception, though these technologies can enhance the usefulness of the GPS positioning information. The GPS provides critical positioning capabilities to military, civil, and commercial users around the world. The United States government created the system, maintains it, and makes it freely accessible to anyone with a GPS receiver.The GPS project was launched by the U.S. Department of Defense in 1973 for use by the United States military and became fully operational in 1995. It was allowed for civilian use in the 1980s. Advances in technology and new demands on the existing system have now led to efforts to modernize the GPS and implement the next generation of GPS Block IIIA satellites and Next Generation Operational Control System (OCX). Announcements from Vice President Al Gore and the White House in 1998 initiated these changes. In 2000, the U.S. Congress authorized the modernization effort, GPS III. During the 1990s, GPS quality was degraded by the United States government in a program called "Selective Availability"; this was discontinued in May 2000 by a law signed by President Bill Clinton.The GPS system is provided by the United States government, which can selectively deny access to the system, as happened to the Indian military in 1999 during the Kargil War, or degrade the service at any time. As a result, several countries have developed or are in the process of setting up other global or regional satellite navigation systems. The Russian Global Navigation Satellite System (GLONASS) was developed contemporaneously with GPS, but suffered from incomplete coverage of the globe until the mid-2000s. GLONASS can be added to GPS devices, making more satellites available and enabling positions to be fixed more quickly and accurately, to within two meters (6.6 ft). China's BeiDou Navigation Satellite System is due to achieve global reach in 2020. There are also the European Union Galileo positioning system, and India's NAVIC. Japan's Quasi-Zenith Satellite System (QZSS) is a GPS satellite-based augmentation system to enhance GPS's accuracy.

When selective availability was lifted in 2000, GPS had about a five-meter (16 ft) accuracy. The latest stage of accuracy enhancement uses the L5 band and is now fully deployed. GPS receivers released in 2018 that use the L5 band can have much higher accuracy, pinpointing to within 30 centimetres or 11.8 inches.

Indian Space Research Organisation

The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO, ) is the space agency of the Government of India headquartered in the city of Bengaluru. Its vision is to "harness space technology for national development while pursuing space science research and planetary exploration."Formed in 1969, ISRO superseded the erstwhile Indian National Committee for Space Research (INCOSPAR) established in 1962 by the efforts of independent India's first Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, and his close aide and scientist Vikram Sarabhai. The establishment of ISRO thus institutionalised space activities in India. It is managed by the Department of Space, which reports to the Prime Minister of India.

ISRO built India's first satellite, Aryabhata, which was launched by the Soviet Union on 19 April 1975. It was named after the mathematician Aryabhata. In 1980, Rohini became the first satellite to be placed in orbit by an Indian-made launch vehicle, SLV-3. ISRO subsequently developed two other rockets: the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) for launching satellites into polar orbits and the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV) for placing satellites into geostationary orbits. These rockets have launched numerous communications satellites and earth observation satellites. Satellite navigation systems like GAGAN and IRNSS have been deployed. In January 2014, ISRO used an indigenous cryogenic engine in a GSLV-D5 launch of the GSAT-14.ISRO sent a lunar orbiter, Chandrayaan-1, on 22 October 2008 and a Mars orbiter, Mars Orbiter Mission, on 5 November 2013, which entered Mars orbit on 24 September 2014, making India the first nation to succeed on its first attempt to Mars, and ISRO the fourth space agency in the world as well as the first space agency in Asia to reach Mars orbit. On 18 June 2016, ISRO set a record with a launch of twenty satellites in a single payload, one being a satellite from Google. On 15 February 2017, ISRO launched one hundred and four satellites in a single rocket (PSLV-C37) and created a world record. ISRO launched its heaviest rocket, Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle-Mark III (GSLV-Mk III), on 5 June 2017 and placed a communications satellite GSAT-19 in orbit. With this launch, ISRO became capable of launching 4-ton heavy satellites into GTO.

Future plans include the development of Unified Launch Vehicle, Small Satellite Launch Vehicle, development of a reusable launch vehicle, human spaceflight, controlled soft lunar landing, interplanetary probes, and a solar spacecraft mission.

Metropolitan area

A metropolitan area, sometimes referred to as a metro area or commuter belt, is a region consisting of a densely populated urban core and its less-populated surrounding territories, sharing industry, infrastructure, and housing.

A metro area usually comprises multiple jurisdictions and municipalities: neighborhoods, townships, boroughs, cities, towns, exurbs, suburbs, counties, districts, states, and even nations like the eurodistricts. As social, economic and political institutions have changed, metropolitan areas have become key economic and political regions. Metropolitan areas include one or more urban areas, as well as satellite cities, towns and intervening rural areas that are socioeconomically tied to the urban core, typically measured by commuting patterns. In the United States, the concept of the metropolitan statistical area has gained prominence.

Metropolitan areas may themselves be part of larger megalopolises.

For urban centres outside metropolitan areas, that generate a similar attraction at smaller scale for their region, the concept of the regiopolis and respectively regiopolitan area or regio was introduced by German professors in 2006. In the United States, the term micropolitan statistical area is used.

Moon

The Moon is an astronomical body that orbits planet Earth and is Earth's only permanent natural satellite. It is the fifth-largest natural satellite in the Solar System, and the largest among planetary satellites relative to the size of the planet that it orbits (its primary). The Moon is after Jupiter's satellite Io the second-densest satellite in the Solar System among those whose densities are known.

The Moon is thought to have formed about 4.51 billion years ago, not long after Earth. The most widely accepted explanation is that the Moon formed from the debris left over after a giant impact between Earth and a Mars-sized body called Theia.

The Moon is in synchronous rotation with Earth, and thus always shows the same side to Earth, the near side. The near side is marked by dark volcanic maria that fill the spaces between the bright ancient crustal highlands and the prominent impact craters. After the Sun, the Moon is the second-brightest regularly visible celestial object in Earth's sky. Its surface is actually dark, although compared to the night sky it appears very bright, with a reflectance just slightly higher than that of worn asphalt. Its gravitational influence produces the ocean tides, body tides, and the slight lengthening of the day.

The Moon's average orbital distance is 384,402 km (238,856 mi), or 1.28 light-seconds. This is about thirty times the diameter of Earth. The Moon's apparent size in the sky is almost the same as that of the Sun, since the star is about 400 times the lunar distance and diameter. Therefore, the Moon covers the Sun nearly precisely during a total solar eclipse. This matching of apparent visual size will not continue in the far future because the Moon's distance from Earth is gradually increasing.

The Moon was first reached in September 1959 by the Soviet Union's Luna 2, an unmanned spacecraft. The United States' NASA Apollo program achieved the only manned lunar missions to date, beginning with the first manned orbital mission by Apollo 8 in 1968, and six manned landings between 1969 and 1972, with the first being Apollo 11. These missions returned lunar rocks which have been used to develop a geological understanding of the Moon's origin, internal structure, and the Moon's later history. Since the Apollo 17 mission in 1972, the Moon has been visited only by unmanned spacecraft.

Both the Moon's natural prominence in the earthly sky and its regular cycle of phases as seen from Earth have provided cultural references and influences for human societies and cultures since time immemorial. Such cultural influences can be found in language, lunar calendar systems, art, and mythology.

Multimedia

Multimedia is content that uses a combination of different content forms such as text, audio, images, animations, video and interactive content. Multimedia contrasts with media that use only rudimentary computer displays such as text-only or traditional forms of printed or hand-produced material.

Multimedia can be recorded and played, displayed, interacted with or accessed by information content processing devices, such as computerized and electronic devices, but can also be part of a live performance. Multimedia devices are electronic media devices used to store and experience multimedia content. Multimedia is distinguished from mixed media in fine art; for example, by including audio it has a broader scope. In the early years of multimedia the term "rich media" was synonymous with interactive multimedia, and "hypermedia" was an application of multimedia.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA, like Noah) is an American scientific agency within the United States Department of Commerce that focuses on the conditions of the oceans, major waterways, and the atmosphere.

NOAA warns of dangerous weather, charts seas, guides the use and protection of ocean and coastal resources, and conducts research to provide understanding and improve stewardship of the environment.

NOAA was officially formed in 1970 and in 2017 had over 11,000 civilian employees. Its research and operations are further supported by 321 uniformed service members who make up the NOAA Commissioned Corps.Since October 2017, NOAA has been headed by Timothy Gallaudet, as acting Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere and NOAA interim administrator.

Natural satellite

A natural satellite or moon is, in the most common usage, an astronomical body that orbits a planet or minor planet (or sometimes another small Solar System body).

In the Solar System there are six planetary satellite systems containing 185 known natural satellites. Four IAU-listed dwarf planets are also known to have natural satellites: Pluto, Haumea, Makemake, and Eris. As of September 2018, there are 334 other minor planets known to have moons.The Earth–Moon system is unique in that the ratio of the mass of the Moon to the mass of Earth is much greater than that of any other natural-satellite–planet ratio in the Solar System (although there are minor-planet systems with even greater ratios, notably the Pluto–Charon system). At 3,474 km (2,158 miles) across, the Moon is 0.27 times the diameter of Earth.

Satellite Awards

The Satellite Awards are annual awards given by the International Press Academy that are commonly noted in entertainment industry journals and blogs. The awards were originally known as the Golden Satellite Awards. The award ceremonies take place each year at the InterContinental Hotel in Century City, Los Angeles.In 2011, Satellite nominations in the motion picture categories were pared from 22 to 19 classifications; the change reflects the merger of Drama and Comedy/Musical under a general Best Picture heading, including the Best Actor, Best Actress, Supporting Actor and Supporting Actress headings.

Satellite navigation

A satellite navigation or satnav system is a system that uses satellites to provide autonomous geo-spatial positioning. It allows small electronic receivers to determine their location (longitude, latitude, and altitude/elevation) to high precision (within a few metres) using time signals transmitted along a line of sight by radio from satellites. The system can be used for providing position, navigation or for tracking the position of something fitted with a receiver (satellite tracking). The signals also allow the electronic receiver to calculate the current local time to high precision, which allows time synchronisation. Satnav systems operate independently of any telephonic or internet reception, though these technologies can enhance the usefulness of the positioning information generated.

A satellite navigation system with global coverage may be termed a global navigation satellite system (GNSS). As of October 2018, the United States' Global Positioning System (GPS) and Russia's GLONASS are fully operational GNSSs, with China's BeiDou Navigation Satellite System (BDS) and the European Union's Galileo scheduled to be fully operational by 2020. India, France and Japan are in the process of developing regional navigation and augmentation systems as well.

Global coverage for each system is generally achieved by a satellite constellation of 18–30 medium Earth orbit (MEO) satellites spread between several orbital planes. The actual systems vary, but use orbital inclinations of >50° and orbital periods of roughly twelve hours (at an altitude of about 20,000 kilometres or 12,000 miles).

Satellite television

Satellite television is a service that delivers television programming to viewers by relaying it from a communications satellite orbiting the Earth directly to the viewer's location. The signals are received via an outdoor parabolic antenna commonly referred to as a satellite dish and a low-noise block downconverter.

A satellite receiver then decodes the desired television programme for viewing on a television set. Receivers can be external set-top boxes, or a built-in television tuner. Satellite television provides a wide range of channels and services. It is usually the only television available in many remote geographic areas without terrestrial television or cable television service.

Modern systems signals are relayed from a communications satellite on the Ku band frequencies (12–18 GHz) requiring only a small dish less than a meter in diameter. The first satellite TV systems were an obsolete type now known as television receive-only. These systems received weaker analog signals transmitted in the C-band (4–8 GHz) from FSS type satellites, requiring the use of large 2–3-meter dishes. Consequently, these systems were nicknamed "big dish" systems, and were more expensive and less popular.Early systems used analog signals, but modern ones use digital signals which allow transmission of the modern television standard high-definition television, due to the significantly improved spectral efficiency of digital broadcasting. As of 2018, Star One C2 from Brazil is the only remaining satellite broadcasting in analog signals, as well as one channel (C-SPAN) on AMC-11 from the United States.Different receivers are required for the two types. Some transmissions and channels are unencrypted and therefore free-to-air or free-to-view, while many other channels are transmitted with encryption (pay television), requiring the viewer to subscribe and pay a monthly fee to receive the programming.

Sirius XM Satellite Radio

Sirius XM Holdings, Inc., doing business as Sirius XM Satellite Radio, is a broadcasting company headquartered in Midtown Manhattan, New York City that provides three satellite radio and online radio services operating in the United States: Sirius Satellite Radio, XM Satellite Radio, and Sirius XM Radio. The company also has a minor interest in SiriusXM Canada, an affiliate company that provides Sirius and XM service in Canada. At the end of 2013, Sirius XM reorganized their corporate structure, which made Sirius XM Radio Inc. a direct, wholly owned subsidiary of Sirius XM Holdings, Inc.Sirius XM Radio was formed after the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) approved the acquisition of XM Satellite Radio Holding, Inc. by Sirius Satellite Radio, Inc. on July 29, 2008, 17 months after the companies first proposed the merger. The merger brought the combined companies a total of more than 18.5 million subscribers based on current subscriber numbers on the date of merging. The deal was valued at $3.3 billion, not including debt. Through Q2 2017, Sirius XM has more than 32 million subscribers.The proposed merger was opposed by those who felt a merger would create a monopoly. Sirius and XM argued that a merger was the only way that satellite radio could survive.In September 2018, the company agreed to purchase the competing streaming music service, Pandora, and this transaction was successfully completed on the 1st of February 2019.

Sputnik 1

Sputnik 1 ( or ; "Satellite-1", or "PS-1", Простейший Спутник-1 or Prosteyshiy Sputnik-1, "Elementary Satellite 1") was the first artificial Earth satellite. The Soviet Union launched it into an elliptical low Earth orbit on 4 October 1957, orbiting for three weeks before its batteries died, then silently for two more months before falling back into the atmosphere. It was a 58 cm (23 in) diameter polished metal sphere, with four external radio antennas to broadcast radio pulses. Its radio signal was easily detectable even by radio amateurs, and the 65° inclination and duration of its orbit made its flight path cover virtually the entire inhabited Earth. This surprise success precipitated the American Sputnik crisis and triggered the Space Race, a part of the Cold War. The launch was the beginning of a new era of political, military, technological, and scientific developments.Tracking and studying Sputnik 1 from Earth provided scientists with valuable information. The density of the upper atmosphere could be deduced from its drag on the orbit, and the propagation of its radio signals gave data about the ionosphere.

Sputnik 1 was launched during the International Geophysical Year from Site No.1/5, at the 5th Tyuratam range, in Kazakh SSR (now known as the Baikonur Cosmodrome). The satellite travelled at about 29,000 kilometres per hour (18,000 mph; 8,100 m/s), taking 96.2 minutes to complete each orbit. It transmitted on 20.005 and 40.002 MHz, which were monitored by radio operators throughout the world. The signals continued for 21 days until the transmitter batteries ran out on 26 October 1957. Sputnik burned up on 4 January 1958 while reentering Earth's atmosphere, after three months, 1440 completed orbits of the Earth, and a distance travelled of about 70 million km (43 million mi).

XM Satellite Radio

XM Satellite Radio (XM) was one of the three satellite radio (SDARS) and online radio services in the United States and Canada, operated by Sirius XM Holdings. It provided pay-for-service radio, analogous to cable television. Its service included 73 different music channels, 39 news, sports, talk and entertainment channels, 21 regional traffic and weather channels and 23 play-by-play sports channels. XM channels were identified by Arbitron with the label "XM" (e.g., "XM32" for "The Bridge").

The company had its origins in the 1988 formation of the American Mobile Satellite Corporation (AMSC), a consortium of several organizations originally dedicated to satellite broadcasting of telephone, fax, and data signals. In 1992, AMSC established a unit called the American Mobile Radio Corporation dedicated to developing a satellite-based digital radio service; this was spun off as XM Satellite Radio Holdings, Inc. in 1999. The satellite service was officially launched on September 25, 2001.

On July 29, 2008, XM and former competitor Sirius Satellite Radio formally completed their merger, following U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) approval, forming Sirius XM Radio, Inc. with XM Satellite Radio, Inc. as its subsidiary. On November 12, 2008, Sirius and XM began broadcasting with their new, combined channel lineups. On January 13, 2011, XM Satellite Radio, Inc. was dissolved as a separate entity and merged into Sirius XM Radio, Inc. Prior to its merger with Sirius, XM was the largest satellite radio company in the United States.

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