Written by Tanush Sahasrabuddhe, a grade 3 student
An Earth Observation Satellite? Hmmm.. they must be used for some kind of observation. Yes, but what do they do? They are used for earth observation from orbit. Did you know, an orbit is the gravitationally curved trajectory of an object such as the trajectory of a planet around a star or a natural satellite around a planet?
But what is a trajectory? A trajectory is the curved path of an object that has been fired, hit, or thrown into the air.
Uses of the earth observation satellites:
The Earth Observation Satellites are not only used as spy satellites but also for non-military uses such as environmental monitoring (a tool to assess environmental conditions, trends etc.), meteorology (the scientific study of the atmosphere that focuses on weather processes and forecasting), cartography (the study and practice of making maps) etc.
Names of first few satellites:
The first artificial satellite named ‘Sputnik 1’ was launched by the Soviet Union on October 4, 1957. It sends back radio signals, which scientists used to study the ionosphere (it is an ionized part of Earth’s upper atmosphere). Then on January 31, 1958, NASA launched the first American Satellite, ‘Explorer 1’.
Earth Van Allen radiation belts were discovered by the information sent back from its radiation detector (an instrument used to detect or identify high energy particles such as those produced by nuclear decay, cosmic radiation, or reactions in a particle acceleration).
What is Van Allen Radiation?
It is a zone of energetic charged particles (to describe ions and electrons that have gained enough energy to move through space at a reasonable fraction of the speed of light), most of which originate from the solar wind (a stream of energized, charged particles), that are captured by and held around a planets magnetic field.
Till 2008, there were more than 150 earth observation satellites in orbit acquiring more than 10 terabytes (a unit of measuring data) of data every day.
The latest launch of the Indian earth observation satellite:
EOS-01 and nine customer satellites were launched onboard its Polar rocket PSLV-C49 from the spaceport of Satish Dhawan Space Center in Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh on November 7, 2020. EOS-01 is intended for application in agriculture, forestry, and disaster management support.
It has been launched successfully into the intended orbits confirmed by ISRO.
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