Space Information

The Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) is a robotic spacecraft which the United States plans to place in orbit around the Moon.[1] Launch is planned for October 2008 aboard an Atlas V launch vehicle.[2] LRO will be the first mission implementing the United States Vision for Space Exploration and its objectives are primarily to support that policy, such as surveying lunar resources and identifying possible landing sites for subsequent human exploration of the Moon. The preliminary design review was completed in February 2006 and the critical design review was completed in November of 2006.

Areas of investigation will include:

* Selenodetic global topography
* Characterization of deep space radiation in Lunar orbit
* The lunar polar regions, including possible water ice deposits and the lighting environment
* High-resolution mapping (max 0.5 m) to assist in the selection and characterization of future landing sites

Under development by NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, LRO is planned to be a large and sophisticated spacecraft in a polar orbit for a nominal mission of one Earth year. An optional extended phase of the mission (up to 5 years) could provide a communications relay for other future ground lunar missions, such as moon lander or rover. The orbiter will carry a complement of six instruments and one technology demonstration:

* CRaTER - The primary goal of CRaTER is to characterize the global lunar radiation environment and its biological impacts.
* DLRE - The Diviner Lunar Radiometer Experiment will measure lunar surface thermal emission to provide essential information for future surface operations and exploration.
* LAMP - Reflected Lyman _ sky-glow and starlight produce sufficient signal for even a small UV instrument like LAMP to see in the Moon's permanently shadowed regions.
* LEND - LEND will provide measurements, create maps, detecting possible near-surface water ice deposits.
* LOLA - The Lunar Orbiter Laser Altimeter (LOLA) investigation will provide a precise global lunar topographic model and geodetic grid that will serve as the foundation of this essential understanding.
* LROC - The Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera (LROC) has been designed to address the measurement requirements of landing site certification and polar illumination. LROC comprises a pair of narrow-angle cameras (NAC) and a single wide-angle camera (NAC).
* Mini-RF - Demonstrate new lightweight SAR and communications technologies, locate potential water-ice.

LRO's high-resolution mapping will show some of the larger pieces of equipment previously left on the Moon, and will return approximately 70-100TB of image data.

Piggy-backing on the launch of LRO will be the Lunar CRater Observation and Sensing Satellite (LCROSS), which is designed to watch as the launch vehicle's Centaur upper stage impacts a permanently shadowed region near either the north or south pole of the Moon. Spectral analysis of the resulting impact plume will help to confirm preliminary findings by the Clementine mission which hinted that there may be water ice in the permanently shadowed regions. LCROSS will fly through the debris plume, then approximately 10 minutes later will itself impact into a different part of the crater. The two impacts, which should be easily visible to amateur astronomers, will also be monitored by Earth-based observatories and possibly by other orbital assets. The addition of the LCROSS payload came about after NASA changed LRO to a larger rocket from the Delta II. It was chosen from 19 other proposals.[5] LCROSS is being managed by NASA's Ames Research Center and built by Northrop Grumman. The LCROSS preliminary design review was completed on 2006-09-08. The LCROSS mission passed its Mission Confirmation Review on 2007-02-02[6]. The LCROSS mission passed its Critical Design Review on 2007-02-22.[7]

A satellite is any object that orbits another object (which is known as its primary). Satellites can be spacecraft manufactured on Earth and sent into orbit on a launch vehicle, they may be naturally occurring such as moons, comets, asteroids, planets, stars, and even galaxies, or they may be space debris.

It is not always a simple matter to decide which is the "satellite" in a pair of bodies. Because all objects with mass are affected by gravity, the motion of the primary object is also affected by the satellite. If two objects are sufficiently similar in mass, they are generally referred to as a binary system rather than a primary object and satellite; an extreme example is the 'double asteroid' 90 Antiope. The general criterion for an object to be a satellite is that the center of mass (known as the Barycenter) of the two objects is inside the primary object. Another, perhaps better known, example is the dwarf planet Pluto and its companion, Charon. While many consider Charon to be a satellite of Pluto, this can be debated, as their masses are similar to the point where their barycenter is not within either object. Accordingly, some consider Pluto and Charon to be the two members of a double planet system.

* 1 Early theoretical work on artificial satellites
* 2 History of artificial satellites
* 3 Types
* 4 Orbit types
* 5 Launch capable countries
* 6 Heraldry
* 7 See also
* 8 References
* 9 External links



The first known fictional depiction of an artificial satellite launched into orbit around the Earth is a short story by Edward Everett Hale, The Brick Moon. The story was serialized in the Atlantic Monthly, starting in 1869.[1][2] The object named in the title is intended as a navigational aid, but is accidentally launched with people aboard. The idea surfaces again in Jules Verne's The Begum's Millions (1879). In this book, however, this is a completely unintentional result of the book's villain building an enormous artillery piece in order to destroy his enemies, and imparting to the shell a greater velocity than intended.

In 1903 Konstantin Tsiolkovsky (1857–1935) published Исследование мировых пространств реактивными приборами (The Exploration of Cosmic Space by Means of Reaction Devices), which is the first academic treatise on the use of rocketry to launch spacecraft. He calculated the escape velocity from Earth into orbit at 8 km/second and that a multi-stage rocket fueled by liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen would be required. During his lifetime he published over 500 works on space travel and related subjects, including science fiction novels. Among his works are designs for rockets with steering thrusters, multi-stage boosters, space stations, airlocks for exiting a spaceship into the vacuum of space, and closed cycle biological systems to provide food and oxygen for space colonies. He also delved into theories of heavier-than-air flying machines, independently working through many of the same calculations that the Wright brothers were performing at about the same time.

In 1928 Herman Potočnik (1898–1929) published his sole book, Das Problem der Befahrung des Weltraums - der Raketen-motor (The Problem of Space Travel - The Rocket Motor), a plan for a breakthrough into space and a permanent human presence there. He conceived of a space station in detail and calculated its geostationary orbit. He described the use of orbiting spacecraft for detailed peaceful and military observation of the ground and described how the special conditions of space could be useful for scientific experiments. The book described geostationary satellites (first put forward by Tsiolkovsky) and discussed communication between them and the ground using radio, but fell short of the idea of using satellites for mass broadcasting and as telecommunications relays.

In 1945 the English science fiction writer Arthur C. Clarke (b. 1917) conceived of the possibility for mass artificial communication satellites in his Wireless World article.[3] Clarke examined the logistics of satellite launch, possible orbits and other aspects of the creation of a network of world-circling satellites, pointing to the benefits of high-speed global communications. He also suggested that three geostationary satellites would provide coverage over the entire planet.

The first artificial satellite was Sputnik 1 launched by Soviet Union on 4 October 1957.

In May, 1946, Project RAND 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. The achievement of a satellite craft would produce repercussions comparable to the explosion of the atomic bomb…"

The space age began in 1946, as scientists began using captured German V-2 rockets to make measurements in the upper atmosphere.[4] Before this period, scientists used balloons that went up to 30 km and radio waves to study the ionosphere. From 1946 to 1952, upper-atmosphere research was conducted using V-2s and Aerobee rockets. This allowed measurements of atmospheric pressure, density, and temperature up to 200 km. (see also: magnetosphere, Van Allen radiation belt)

The United States had been considering launching orbital satellites since 1945 under the Bureau of Aeronautics of the United States Navy. The Air Force's Project RAND eventually released the above report, but did not believe that the satellite was a potential military weapon; rather they considered it to be a tool for science, politics, and propaganda. In 1954, the Secretary of Defense stated, "I know of no American satellite program."

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 Air Force and Navy were working on Project Orbiter, which involved using a Jupiter C rocket to launch a small satellite called Explorer 1 on January 31, 1958.

On July 29, 1955, the White House announced that the U.S. intended to launch satellites by the spring of 1958. This became known as Project Vanguard. On July 31, the Soviets announced that they intended to launch a satellite by the fall of 1957. On October 4, 1957 Sputnik 1 was launched into orbit, which triggered the Space Race between the two already adversarial nations.

The largest artificial satellite currently orbiting the Earth is the International Space Station.

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

Telecommunication satellite is a kind of satellite (later explained) that’s very close to our daily life. Arthur C. Clarke was one of the pioneers of this field; he fostered the idea of a worldwide satellite system. Echo I is a passive communication satellite launched in 1960. It was not equipped with a two-way system yet, and it was rather functioned as a reflector. Not very long after then, the Telstar I, an active communication satellite, was launched in 1962, with receiving and transmitting equipment, and was an active participant in the reception-transmission process. Telstar created the world’s first international television link. Therefore, Mirabito & Morgernstern in their book, The New Communication Technologies: Applications, Policy, and Impact, 5th edition, said that Telstar had paved the way for today’s communication spacecraft

* Anti-Satellite weapons, sometimes called "Killer satellites" are satellites designed to destroy "enemy" satellites, other orbital weapons and targets. Some are armed with kinetic rounds, while others use energy and/or particle weapons to destroy satellites, ICBMs, MIRVs. Both the U.S. and the USSR had these satellites. Links discussing "Killer satellites", ASATS (Anti-Satellite satellite) include USSR Tests ASAT weapon and ASAT Test. See also IMINT
* Astronomical satellites are satellites used for observation of distant planets, galaxies, and other outer space objects.
* Biosatellites are satellites designed to carry living organisms, generally for scientific experimentation.
* Communications satellites are an artificial satellite stationed in space for the purposes of telecommunications. Modern communications satellites typically use geosynchronous orbits, Molniya orbits or low Earth orbits.
* Miniaturized satellites are satellites of unusually low weights and small sizes. New classifications are used to categorize these satellites: minisatellite (500–200 kg), microsatellite (below 200 kg), nanosatellite (below 10 kg).
* Navigation 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 metres in real time.
* Reconnaissance satellites are Earth observation satellite or communications satellite deployed for military or intelligence applications. Little is known about the full power of these satellites, as governments who operate them usually keep information pertaining to their reconnaissance satellites classified.
* Earth observation satellites are satellites intended for non-military uses such as environmental monitoring, meteorology, map making etc. (See especially Earth Observing System.)
* Solar power satellites are proposed satellites built in high Earth orbit that use microwave power transmission to beam solar power to very large antennae on Earth where it can be used in place of conventional power sources.
* Space stations are man-made structures that are designed for human beings to live on in outer space. A space station is distinguished from other manned spacecraft by its lack of major propulsion or landing facilities — instead, other vehicles are used as transport to and from the station. Space stations are designed for medium-term living in orbit, for periods of weeks, months, or even years.
* Weather satellites are satellites that primarily are used to monitor Earth's weather and climate.

Main article: List of orbits

Centric Classifications

Galacto-centric Orbit - An orbit about the center of a galaxy. Earth's sun follows this type of orbit about the galactic center of the Milky Way.

Heliocentric Orbit - An orbit around the Sun. In our Solar System, all planets, comets, and asteroids are in such orbits, as are many artificial satellites and pieces of space debris. Moons by contrast are not in a heliocentric orbit but rather orbit their parent planet.

Geocentric Orbit - An orbit around the planet Earth, such as the Moon or artificial satellites. Currently there are approximately 2465 artificial satellites orbiting the Earth.

Areocentric Orbit - An orbit around the planet Mars, such as moons or artificial satellites.

Altitude Classifications

Low Earth Orbit (LEO) - Geocentric orbits ranging in altitude from 0 - 2,000 km (0 - 1,240 miles)

Medium Earth Orbit (MEO) - Geocentric orbits ranging in altitude from 2,000 km (1,240 miles) - to just below geosynchronous orbit at 35,786 km (22,240 miles). Also known as an intermediate circular orbit.

High Earth Orbit (HEO) - Geocentric orbits above the altitude of geosynchronous orbit 35,786 km (22,240 miles).

Inclination Classifications

Inclined Orbit - An orbit whose inclination in reference to the equatorial plane is not 0.

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 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 orbital maneuver that moves a spacecraft from one circular orbit to another using two engine impulses. 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 ½ of a sidereal day (roughly 12 hours). Such a satellite spends most of its time over a designated area of the planet.

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 designated area of the planet.

Hyperbolic orbit - An orbit with the eccentricity greater than 1. Such an orbit also has a velocity in excess of the escape velocity and as such, will escape the gravitational pull of the planet and continue to travel infinitely.

Parabolic Orbit - An orbit with the eccentricity equal to 1. Such an orbit also has a velocity equal to the escape velocity and therefore will escape the gravitational pull of the planet and travel until its velocity relative to the planet is 0. If the speed of such an orbit is increased it will become a hyperbolic orbit.

Escape Orbit (EO) - A high-speed parabolic orbit where the object has escape velocity and is moving away from the planet.

Capture Orbit - A high-speed parabolic orbit where the object has escape velocity and is moving toward 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 (12544.2 miles) and an orbital period of approximately 12 hours

Geosynchronous Orbit (GEO) - Orbits with an altitude of approximately 35,786 km (22,240 miles). Such a satellite would trace an analemma (figure 8) in the sky.

Geostationary orbit (GSO): A geosynchronous orbit with an inclination of zero. To an observer on the ground this satellite would appear as a fixed point in the sky.

Clarke Orbit - Another name for a geostationary orbit. Named after the writer Arthur C. Clarke.

Supersynchronous orbit - A disposal / storage orbit above GSO/GEO. Satellites will drift west. Also a synonym for Disposal Orbit.

Subsynchronous orbit - A drift orbit close to but below GSO/GEO. Satellites will drift east.

Graveyard Orbit - An orbit a few hundred kilometers above geosynchronous that satellites are moved into at the end of their operation.

Disposal Orbit - A synonym for graveyard orbit.

Junk Orbit - A synonym for graveyard orbit.

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 17,000 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 - An 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

Sun-synchronous Orbit - An orbit which combines altitude and inclination in such a way that the satellite passes over any given point of the planets's surface at the same local solar time. Such an orbit can place a satellite in constant sunlight and is useful for imaging, spy, and weather satellites.

Moon Orbit - The orbital characteristics of earth's moon. Average altitude of 384,403 kilometres (238,857 mi), elliptical-inclined orbit.

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.

Exo-orbit - A maneuver where a spacecraft approaches the height of orbit but lacks the velocity to sustain it.

Orbital Spaceflight - A synonym for Exo-orbit.

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. Almost no 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.

Satellites can also orbit Lagrangian Points.

Main article: Timeline of first orbital launches by nationality

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 — which relatively speaking, does not require much economic, scientific and industrial capacity — 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. Does not include consortium satellites or multi-national satellites.
First launch by country Country Year of first launch First satellite Payloads in orbit in 2006[1]
Flag of Soviet Union Soviet Union 1957 Sputnik 1 1390 (Russia)
Flag of United States United States 1958 Explorer 1 999
Flag of France France 1965 Astérix 43
Flag of Japan Japan 1970 Osumi 102
Flag of People's Republic of China China 1970 Dong Fang Hong I 53
Flag of United Kingdom United Kingdom 1971 Prospero X-3 23[citation needed]
Flag of India India 1981 Rohini 31
Flag of Israel Israel 1988 Ofeq 1 6

Both North Korea and Iraq have claimed orbital launches but these are unconfirmed, and unlikely. As of 2006, only eight countries and one regional space organisation have independently launched satellites into orbit on their own indigenously developed launch vehicles - in chronological order: USSR, USA, France, Japan, China, UK, ESA, India and Israel.
First launch by country including help of another parties Country Year of first launch First satellite Payloads in orbit in 2006[2]
Flag of Soviet Union Soviet Union 1957 Sputnik 1 1390 (Russia)
Flag of United States United States 1958 Explorer 1 999
Flag of Canada Canada 1962 Alouette 1
Flag of France France 1965 Astérix 43
Flag of Italy Italy 1967 San Marco 2
Flag of Australia Australia 1967 WRESAT
Flag of Japan Japan 1970 Osumi 102
Flag of People's Republic of China China 1970 Dong Fang Hong I 53
Flag of United Kingdom United Kingdom 1971 Prospero X-3 23[citation needed]
Flag of India India 1981 Rohini 31
Flag of Israel Israel 1988 Ofeq 1 6
Flag of Kazakhstan Kazakhstan 2006 KazSat 1 1

It should be noted that while Kazakhstan did launch their satellite independently, it was built by the Russians, and the rocket was not independently designed. While Canada was the third country to build a satellite which was launched into Space, it was launched aboard a U.S. rocket from a U.S. spaceport. The same goes for Australia, who launched on-board a donated Redstone rocket. The first Italian-launched was San Marco 2, launched on 26 April 1967 on a U.S. Scout rocket with U.S. support.[3] Australia's launch project, in November 1967, involved a donated U.S. missile and U. S. support staff as well as a joint launch facility with the United Kingdom.[4] The launch capabilities of the United Kingdom and France now fall under the European Space Agency (ESA), and the launch capabilities of the Soviet Union fall under Russia, reducing the number of political entities with active satellite launch capabilities to seven - six 'major' space powers: USA, Russia, China, India, EU, Japan, and a minor space power - Israel.

Several other countries such as South Korea, Pakistan, Iran, Brazil and Egypt are in the early stages of developing their own small-scale launch capabilities, and seek to become 'minor' space powers - others may have the scientific and industrial capability, but not the economic or political will.

The (artificial, though this is not stated in the blazon) satellite appears as a charge in the arms of Arthur Maxwell House.[5] This is in addition to numerous appearances of the natural satellite the moon, and the moons of the planets Jupiter and Saturn (with those planets) in the arms of Pierre-Simon LaPlace.

From Wikipedia