Satellites

This essay has a total of 488 words and 3 pages.

Satellites




Satellites orbit the earth doing our bidding in ways that enrich the lives of almost all
of us. Through electronic eyes from hundreds of miles overhead, they lead prospectors to
mineral deposits invisble on earth's surface. Relaying communications at the speed of
light, they shrink the planet until its most distant people are only a split second apart.
They beam world weather to our living room TV and guide ships through storms. Swooping low
over areas of possible hostility, spies in the sky maintain a surveillance that helps keep
peace in a volatile world. How many objects, exaclty, are orbiting out there? Today's
count is 4,914. The satellites begin with a launch, which in the U.S. takes place at Cape
Canaveral in Florida, NASA's Wallops Flight Center in Virginia, or, for polar orbiters,
Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. One satellite in 20 is crippled by the jolt of
lift-off, or dies in the inferno of a defective rocket blast, or is thrust into improper
orbit. A few simply vanish into the immensity of space. When a satellite emerges from the
rocket's protective shroud, radiotelemety regularly reports on its health to
round-the-clock crews of ground controllers. They watch over the temperatures and voltages
of the craft's electronic nervous system and other vital "organs", always critical with
machines whose sunward side may be 300 degress hotter than the shaded part. Once a
satellite achieves orbit--that delicate condition in which the pull of earth's gravity is
matched by the outward fling of the Page 2 ------ crafts speed--subtle pressures make it
Continues for 2 more pages >>




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