Updated March 31, 2023
Introduction to Satellite
In this article, we will learn about Types of Satellites. Satellite plays an important role in our day-to-day life. Initially, they were used as a secret device for espionage and other undercover military activities. With more and more commercialization, they got into digital communication areas impacting our daily lives.
Satellite provides a range of services in several areas: beaming of Television programs worldwide, remote Phone calls, community radio, weather reports, news reports, Ola/Uber taxi-hailing, Geo Mapping, Vehicle tracking and many more. There are many business models built tapping the potential offered by satellite services. In this article, let us understand the features of Satellite and its types.
What is a Satellite?
In the Solar system, there are Sun, Planets, moons (Natural satellites). Sun is one of the stars in billions of stars in the Milky Way Galaxy. Milky Way is one among the billions of Galaxies in the universe. Any object that orbits around another bigger object in space is called Satellite. This orbit may be circular or elliptical in the path. The bigger object holds all the small objects revolving around it and provides life, light, heat, and energy to them.
1. Natural Satellite
Planets like Earth, Jupiter, Uranus, Saturn, Neptune and Mars orbiting around Sun and they are called Natural Satellites. Sun holds the entire solar system; it takes up the central key position and provides all the resources to the planets. Moons like Titan, Ganymede, Callisto, Rhea, Miranda and the Moon orbiting Planets are also part of this natural satellite category. There are around 240 such moons in the solar system orbiting Planets, Dwarf Planets, and other solar system bodies.
2. Artificial Satellite
These satellites are built and placed in space, orbiting Earth or other Planets with specific intentions. An international space station is one such habitable Satellite placed in space, and it was built by five participating space agencies such as NASA (USA), JAXA (Japan), ESA (Europe), Roscosmos (Russia) and CSA (Canada) between 1998-2011 and this space station was visited by 230 Astronauts from 18 countries. This space station provides an environment for conducting space research and testing new missions to the moon and mars.
Natural Satellites are known as moons, and Artificial satellite is called Satellite, and we will continue the rest of our article with Artificial Satellite only.
History of Satellites
Sputnik 1 was the first Satellite, and Russia launched it in 1957. Post this, 8900 Satellites from 40 countries were launched. Out of these, around 5000 still remain in space, and 1500 of them are active, and the rest of them have reached the end of life and remain in space as debris. India has launched around 100 Satellite so far.
These satellites are placed in Space at different altitudes, and they are facing different planets depending on the applications. 63% of current operational satellites are at a low orbit level (< 2000 Km), 6% are at medium orbit level (< 20000 km), 20% are at the geostationary orbit level (< 36000 km) and the rest 2% at elliptic level (> 36000 km).
Types of Satellites
Satellites can be classified based on their applications, Orbit in which they are placed. Orbits are categorized by their Altitude, Inclination with reference to the equatorial plane, Eccentricity, Synchronization parameters, Planet Centered, Pseudo orbit and others. Types of Satellites based on their application are
|Deployed for observation of distant planets, star, galaxy, and objects in-universe. It is a space Telescope hanging in space to photograph objects in space.
|Places animals or plants in the space to conduct research on the effects of space on these living objects.
|These satellites support telecommunication. Telecasting, Phone calls, Internet connectivity, Radio, and much remote connectivity are typical applications.
|Deployed to study environment, monitor climatic changes and mapping the earth for non-military purposes.
|Facilitates to trace the exact location of any objects on the Earth. This leads to the development of new applications, technology, and business cases.
|Deployed to attack enemy satellites and space objects during the war period.
|Designed for human beings to live and conduct research on objects on planets, stars, and galaxies.
|Deployed for spying, surveying and scouting enemy territory during the war period.
|These satellite ferry astronauts to space and brings them back to earth. It has good grounding facilities and helps astronauts in accessing spaces stations.
|Recovery satellites are mainly used to recover bio, reconnaissance and other satellites back to earth.
|Space-based satellites gather energy from the Sun and transmit it to earth for consumption.
|Smaller sized and lower weight satellites are launched at an economical cost used for the limited purpose of scientific data gathering and radio relay.
|Tether satellites are connected to another satellite by the tether. It is used as a secondary payload to another main satellite mainly used in students and mini-projects.
|These satellites are used to measure and report the Earth’s weather, and the reports are used in a weather forecast.
Uses of Satellite
Below are the uses:
- Military Satellites: Satellite per se is not military or commercial, and the purpose for which it is deployed decides its class. Military satellites are used to spy, survey and track the space objects of the enemy country. They scan the space for the presence of the enemy’s object and feed photos and other inputs to the host country.
- Weather Forecasting: Image feeds of the Earth by Satellites help to monitor climate conditions on the Earth and predict any extreme weather conditions like Strom, Hurricane, Cyclone and excessive rain and manage disasters effectively.
- Direct to Home (DTH) Telecasting & Radio: Without the use of any cable, live TV programs can be received from Satellite. Transponders receive a signal from the broadcaster in a fixed frequency and send it to all our homes at a different frequency. Radio also works in the same concept, and the programs can be received in any remote corner of the world.
- Navigation: Satellite Track and traces the location of any objects on the earth, and this facility enables us to connect vehicles, Employees, and everything with their owners.
- Telephone: Satellite enables wireless telephone connectivity with any person in any remote corner on the earth, and this works in any weather.
Satellite communication helped Industry to accelerate Business transformation. New mobile applications are built using Satellite technology, and it connects all the stakeholders with Business.
This is a guide to Types of Satellites. Here we discuss what Satellites is, their type, history, uses in detail for better understanding. You can also go through our other related articles to learn more –