What is a satellite?

Anything in orbit around the world is a satellite. Man-made satellites are normally smaller than a car. People make satellites for special jobs. Some study the Earth, some bounce electronic messages around the world, and some are telescopes for studying the universe. Earth has a natural satellite, too – the Moon.

How do satellites stay up?

Once satellites have been launched by rocket, they try to zoom off into space, while the Earth tries to pull them down. The two movements added together balance out, making the satellite travel in a circle, called the orbital path.

Is it true? There are spy satellites in the sky.

Yes. A big reason for the space race between Russia and America was to spy on each other. Spy satellites use telescopic cameras. Earth spy satellites used to drop films to Earth by parachute. Now they take digital photos and beam them home, using secret codes.

Do satellites ever fall out of the sky?

Yes, accidents can happen! Satellites have crashed into the ocean, and pieces of the empty space station, Skylab, were found on farmland in Australia, after it fell back to Earth in 1979.

Amazing! There are 150,000 bits of space garbage! They fly at incredible speeds, making them very dangerous. A window on a space shuttle was chipped once by a collision with a flake of paint! The American air force keeps track of the largest 8,500 objects in orbit. Letting rubbish drop and burn-up in the atmosphere helps to clean up space.

Picture Credit : Google