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The Many Usages Of A Communications Satellite

One of the amazing byproducts of the space race which so enthralled competing nations for much of the latter twentieth century are the scores of satellites which circle around the earth. These pieces of space hardware such as a communications satellite allow the latest technological advances to work efficiently and well. Without these pieces of technology, the devices humankind takes for granted when using them on a daily basis simply would not be functional.

There are thousands of these satellites circling the globe at different levels of orbit. Some are close to the earth, providing the best functionality. Others go further away, taking longer to orbit but providing a more rounded and complete view of earth. They are useful for a variety of mobile applications including building communication links to ships, planes, cars, lorries and handheld terminals.

Because these items go around the globe, it is easily to extrapolate a person's position on the surface of the earth by satellite. All that is required is a simple bit of mathematical trigonometry. A triangle is created, using the position of someone (or a transmitting and receiving device) on the globe and any two orbiting satellites. The time it takes for a signal to move through all three points allows the angles of the triangle to be calculated and resultantly the distances involved.

This has many every day uses. Chief amongst them is not just the communication sector (where radio transmissions from airplane cockpits and ship's sterns are passed through satellites to air traffic control and naval bases), but something linked to them. The transmissions are useful, but invariably air traffic control centers and naval bases exist to help guide their freight from one location to another. Here, the satellites' ability to locate to within a tiny fraction of error where someone is is hugely important.

These satellites are used in other applications, too. International phone calls are made using them. The voice is carried across nations to a transmitter, which beams it into orbit. From there, the voice can then be linked back down to a receiver located sometimes on the other side of the world and broadcast.

This is all done in fractions of a millisecond. Sometimes - but only on rare occasions when the technology malfunctions - can a slight satellite delay be seen or heard. All of the live outside broadcasts seen on television owe their existence to this technology.

Nightly news would be completely different were it not possible to broadcast audio and video to and from a remote studio. Thousands of live expert interviews which are conducted in this manner would go missing. Simply put, the world wold be an entirely different place.

The world of a communications satellite is a magnificent one. Without them, people would not be able to do so many things they presume are just magicked out of thin air. Our telephony, navigation, communication and transmission systems would also be regressed several decades to a less enlightened time before this wonderful invention.

April 27, 2017, 7:21:11 pm, America/Chicago

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