. 24/7 Space News .
Sixty years of technology in space - what's changed?
by Staff Writers for Satcom Frontier
McLean VA (SPX) Feb 23, 2018

illustration only

Sixty years ago, the United States successfully launched the nation's first satellite into space. The satellite, Explorer 1, was tiny by today's standards: 80 inches long, a bit over 6 inches in diameter, and weighing just under 31 pounds.

But unlike the USSR's Sputnik satellite launched a few months earlier, which simply demonstrated the feasibility of getting a satellite to orbit the earth, Explorer I carried scientific instruments designed to measure the atmosphere around the earth. The launch of Explorer on January 31,1958, from Cape Canaveral in Florida thus set the path we are still on today of taking technology into space to learn more about the space that surrounds us as well as about the earth itself.

Explorer 1 carried a Geiger counter to measure radiation, as well as temperature sensors and instruments to detect cosmic dust impacts. "Explorer 1 data proved that Earth is surrounded by a magnetic field that protects the planet from deadly cosmic rays," writes Irene Klotz for Aviation Week and Space Technology. "It also discovered what came to be called the Van Allen Radiation Belts, which are zones of highly energized, charged particles, mostly coming from the solar wind, that are trapped and held in place by Earth's magnetic field."

From that beginning was born the space industry. Compare that to today, where there are approximately 1,400 operational satellites in orbit. And these are about to be joined by hundreds, perhaps thousands of satellites that are currently under construction or planned. In addition to operating satellites, the Air Force has catalogued 18,000 to 22,000 pieces of space debris left in orbit following the breakup of spacecraft or launch rockets.

Technology is now being used to monitor and combat this rising congestion in space. Intelsat is one of a number of organizations that has called on the Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) Office of Commercial Space Transportation to take on a greater role in on-orbit spaceflight safety and space situational awareness (SSA). We have several recommendations for the FAA, including smart regulation to support spaceflight safety and reliance on commercial space capabilities to solve current spaceflight safety and SSA needs.

Myland Pride, Director of Government and Legislative Affairs for Intelsat General Corp., writes, "The growing data collection, exploitation and dissemination requirements far outpace the ability of cumbersome government acquisition processes to keep up. The commercial capabilities in this area are revolutionary, and several companies have offerings that would solve many of today's issues and anticipate those of tomorrow. Luckily, the U.S. government leadership is aware of these capabilities and seeks to take advantage of them."

Over the years since Explorer 1, satellites have become much larger and carried more powerful payloads, deployed for such varied missions as communications, earth imaging, distant space observation, weather forecasting and navigation. Just in the past few years, commercial operators such as Intelsat have launched high-throughput satellites (HTS) that provide increases in throughput two to six times the bandwidth equivalent of earlier wideband spacecraft.

This additional throughput is critical as military and government organizations rely on satellite connectivity for data-intensive applications and other uses, such as combat search-and-rescue via rotary platforms and scientific research conducted via unmanned aircraft systems.

The innovation will continue with the introduction of integrated GEO/LEO services, as demonstrated by the collaboration between OneWeb and Intelsat. The GEO/LEO services will provide an unprecedented level of coverage, enabling government customers to have fixed and mobile communications anywhere around the globe.

In 1964, Intelsat's first satellite, known colloquially as Early Bird, could only support 240 voice circuits or one TV circuit, but it couldn't do both at the same time. Intelsat-and the industry as a whole-has come a long way. Today's Intelsat EpicNG class satellites can transmit either 15,000 standard definition video channels or 2.5 million voice circuits. Simultaneously, these satellites can transmit 7,500 SD video channels and 1.25M voice circuits today.

We look forward to continue supporting our government and commercial customers as the pace of innovation progresses.

Related Links
Intelsat General
Space Technology News - Applications and Research

Thanks for being there;
We need your help. The SpaceDaily news network continues to grow but revenues have never been harder to maintain.

With the rise of Ad Blockers, and Facebook - our traditional revenue sources via quality network advertising continues to decline. And unlike so many other news sites, we don't have a paywall - with those annoying usernames and passwords.

Our news coverage takes time and effort to publish 365 days a year.

If you find our news sites informative and useful then please consider becoming a regular supporter or for now make a one off contribution.
SpaceDaily Monthly Supporter
$5+ Billed Monthly

paypal only
SpaceDaily Contributor
$5 Billed Once

credit card or paypal

Last NASA Communications Satellite of its Kind Joins Fleet
Greenbelt MD (SPX) Feb 16, 2018
NASA has begun operating the last satellite of its kind in the network that provides communications and tracking services to more than 40 NASA missions, including critical, real-time communication with the International Space Station. Following its August launch and a five-month period of in-orbit testing, the third-generation Tracking and Data Relay Satellite (TDRS), referred to as TDRS-M until this important milestone, was renamed TDRS-13, becoming the tenth operational satellite in the geosynchronous ... read more

Comment using your Disqus, Facebook, Google or Twitter login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

Japanese, US astronauts end spacewalk to fix robotic arm

International team publishes roadmap to enhance radioresistance for space colonization

NASA Wants Ideas from University Teams for Future Human Space Missions

Trump's Privatized ISS 'Not Impossible,' but Would Require 'Renegotiation'

Launch support contract awarded by 45th Space Wing for Cape Canaveral

140 successful tests and several "firsts" for Vinci, the engine for Ariane 6

Russia launches cargo spacecraft after aborted liftoff

Soyuz launch to resupply ISS aborted seconds before liftoff

Nearly a Decade After Mars Phoenix Landed, Another Look

Mars Rover Opportunity Reaches 5000 Sols On Mars

Oppy Takes A Selfie To Mark Sol 5000

Opportunity Continues to Benefit from Dust Cleaning of the Solar Panels

Long March rockets on ambitious mission in 2018

Chinese taikonauts maintain indomitable spirit in space exploration: senior officer

China launches first shared education satellite

China's first X-ray space telescope put into service after in-orbit tests

Lockheed Martin Completes Assembly on Arabsat's Newest Communications Satellite

Iridium Certus broadband readies for DOD wsers with COMSAT

Airbus and human spaceflight: from Spacelab to Orion

Iridium Announces First Land-Mobile Service Providers for Iridium Certus

Measuring the temperature of two-dimensional materials at the atomic level

Researchers demonstrate promising method for improving quantum information processing

A new way of generating ultra-short bursts of light

Jordan 3D lab prints limbs for war wounded, disabled kids

NASA's Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite arrives at KSC for launch

Humans will actually react pretty well to news of alien life

Asteroid 'time capsules' may help explain how life started on Earth

Deep-sea fish use hydrothermal vents to incubate eggs

New Horizons captures record-breaking images in the Kuiper Belt

Europa and Other Planetary Bodies May Have Extremely Low-Density Surfaces

JUICE ground control gets green light to start development

New Year 2019 offers new horizons at MU69 flyby

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2024 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. All articles labeled "by Staff Writers" include reports supplied to Space Media Network by industry news wires, PR agencies, corporate press officers and the like. Such articles are individually curated and edited by Space Media Network staff on the basis of the report's information value to our industry and professional readership. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) Statement Our advertisers use various cookies and the like to deliver the best ad banner available at one time. All network advertising suppliers have GDPR policies (Legitimate Interest) that conform with EU regulations for data collection. By using our websites you consent to cookie based advertising. If you do not agree with this then you must stop using the websites from May 25, 2018. Privacy Statement. Additional information can be found here at About Us.