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Understanding Satellites
  • What Satellites Do
  • Focus on Three Satellites

  •   What Satellites Do
    'Space Junk' Hazard
    Thousands of small fragments are floating in orbit. A pea-sized (1/4-inch) piece of debris can disable a satellite if it hits a vital, unprotected part. So what's up there anyway?

    Space probes

    A satellite is a small body – natural or artificial – that revolves around a larger celestial object.

    Data collected from satellites help increase understanding of the environment, the world and the universe.

    But what does it mean to you? Without satellites, we would not get a weather forecast, beepers could not work around the world, television signals could not be received and cell phones would not work. And in the future, you wouldn't have high-speed access to the Internet via satellite. Modern communications and scientific research would be impossible without satellites.

    Source: Knight-Ridder/Tribune

    © Copyright 1998 The Washington Post Company

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