Satellites - Information and questions for learners


We are continuing our lessons on space and the interesting things we can find there.  Today we will look at some facts on satellites.  But what is a satellite?  It is an object that is send up into space (without any people in it) that orbits the planets or move around in different areas of space and gathers and sends information for outer space to Earth so that scientist can look at it and learn more.


There are the satellites that are send up to space which is called 'artificial or man made' satellites and then there are objects in space called 'natural' satellites like the Moon which orbits Earth and Earth which orbits the Sun.

The world's first artificial satellite was launched by the Russians in 1957 and where named Sputnik 1.  This started the constant competition to be better than the other between Russia and America and was called the 'space race'.  In November of the same year Russia launched Sputnik 2 but it had a dog named Laika on board.

In Janury of 1958 America launched their first satellite called the Explorer 1.


  1. When was the first satellite launched.
  2. Why were the Russians excited about this?
  3. How long did Sputnik 1 stay in space?
  4. Who started inventing the first rockets?
  5. What vision did he have?
  6. When is the 'International Geophysical year'?
  7. Listen carefully to the rest of the video and see if you can write down at least 5 more facts.

Since the first satellite were launched, more than 6500 were send up and more than a 1000 are still operational and the rest is classified as 'debris' which mean they are still in space, but not working anymore.

The ISS (International Space Station) is the largest artificial satellite that is at this stage moving around Earth.


  1. Who lives in the ISS and what do they do there?
  2. How do the astronauts get there and back to Earth?
  3. Where does the ISS get their electricity.
  4. What rooms will you find in the ISS.
  5. Why do the astronauts have to save water?
  6. What negative effect does the low gravity have on muscles?
  7. What is the name of the robot living on the ISS and what can he do?
  8. When do astronauts take 'space walks'?
There's 3 main groups of satellites. Fixed satellite services handle billions of voice, data, and video transmissions. Mobile satellite systems used for navigation (GPS) and to connect remote ships, aircraft, etc. Scientific research satellites for meteorological data, land survey images, and other scientific research functions.

The more satellites are put up in space, the bigger the chances of them crashing and this actually happened in 2009, so they need to be monitored.

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