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Satellite

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A satellite or Space Vehicle to give it a more gucci sounding name, is an amazing construction of lightweight metals and space-age plastics that whizzes about our heads on a daily basis in space.

They are important to us, as they provide the GPS time signal, allow communications to pass from one side of the World to another without geographical constraint, and are generally pretty whizzy.

The Club of Space Powers
spacemen_420x284.jpg
The Club of Space Powers meets fairly regularly every third Wednesday throughout the year. It is not clear if their caravans are low orbit capable.

Both North Korea (1998) and Iraq (1989) have claimed orbital launches, but these claims are unconfirmed.

In addition to the above, countries such as South Africa, Spain, Italy, Germany, Canada, Australia, Argentina, Egypt, and private companies such as OTRAG, have developed their own launchers, but have not had a successful launch.

As of 2007, only seven countries (Russia and Ukraine instead of USSR, USA, Japan, China, India, Israel) and one regional organization (the European Union, represented by European Space Agency, ESA) have independently launched satellites on their own indigenously developed launch vehicles. (The launch capabilities of the United Kingdom and France now fall under the ESA.)

Also, one international private company (Sea Launch) has launch capability through their purchase of Ukrainian–Russian launchers.

Several other countries, including Brazil, Iran, South Korea, Malaysia, Pakistan, and Turkey, are at various stages of development of their own small-scale launcher capabilities, and seek membership in the club of space powers (see picture).

South Korea, with assistance with Russia is building Korea Space Center in Goheung, Jeolla Province. It is schedule to be operating in early 2008, and South Korea is launching KSLV rocket to put the nation's satellite up into space. It is likely that the satellite will be used to broadcast disgusting oriental porn involving midgets and scat to a worldwide audience.

There are three main types of satellites, Low Earth Orbit (LEO), Medium Earth Orbit (MEO), and Geostationary Earth Orbit (GEO). GEO sats (way up high) do useful things like communications, MEO sats (slightly closer) are generally used for GPS or maybe even Galileo, and LEO sats (just above the atmosphere 400-600km altitude) usually take the pictures, except when it's cloudy, in which case they'll be back in three days to try again.

Radar sats can also sit in LEO, and because they can see through cloud they are a bit more useful, as long as your okay with black and white speckly pictures. Very good at finding metal boxes in fields, hence popular with MOD.

Britain

Britain launched a satellite on a 100% Made in Britain rocket once. It didn't do anything and the project that put it there had already been cancelled, the European launch market ceaded to the French. Oh well, better luck next time eh?

Top Gear attempted to launch a Reliant Robin into space and almost managed it!