NRO Jr: Kindergarten through 5th Grade - Text Only Home Page

What is a Satellite?

Satellites are objects in space which travel around other objects, such as planets. This is called orbiting or revolving. Satellites can be man-made or natural, such as the Moon.

(The picture on the opposite page depicts a graphic of a grey simulated satellite with two blue panels, one on each side, flying in the dark of space over Earth.)

People have launched thousands of man-made satellites into orbit around Earth. Satellites are sent into orbit using rockets. Sometimes they are carried on the Space Shuttle and placed into orbit by astronauts.

(The picture on the opposite page depicts another graphic of a simulated satellite looking from underneath as it hovers over Earth. It is a bronze color with four blue panels extending from it.)

Man-made satellites are made of very special materials that will hold up in the very harsh environment of space. Satellites contain many complex parts, including computers, antennas, solar arrays, and sensors.

(The graphic on the opposite page depicts a simulated satellite that is cylindrical in bronze, gold and silver with an American flag on it flying in space. There is an instruction at the bottom of the graphic that says “Turn this ‘layer’ page to see the insides.” When the user turns the page it is the same picture only this time you can see the inside of the satellite.)

The Moon is a natural satellite of the Earth. It revolves once around the Earth every 28 days. Mars has two natural satellites. Jupiter and Saturn have lots of natural satellites. Jupiter has 16 moons and Saturn has 19!

(The graphic on the opposite page of the text shows Saturn tilting right and at the bottom of the page are two open yellow circles with lines coming from them pointing to the text that says “Here are two of Jupiter’s moons located here.”)

Satellites are used to enhance our lives in many ways, including television, communications, weather monitoring, defending our nation, and space science exploration.

(The graphic on the opposite page of this text shows a large silver satellite hovering in space over Earth with inset pictures in color and black and white of Earth.)

The International Space Station is considered a manned satellite that orbits the Earth.

(This text is on a two-page graphic depicting the International Space Station hovering over Earth. The space station is large and silver with many panels on each side, out in the black of space with stars in the background and the Earth is in blue and green.)

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