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  • A satellite is a body that orbits round a planet.
  • The moon is a satellite of the earth.
  • The number of satellites or moons of the planets are listed below:
    Planets Number of Moons/Satellites
    Mercury None
    Venus None
    Mars 2
    Earth 1
    Jupiter 79
    Saturn 82
    Uranus 27
    Neptune 14
Natural and Artificial Satellites

Examples of Natural Satellites (Photo Credit: SlidePlayer.com)

  • All the moons that orbit the planets in our solar system are natural satellites.
  • Artificial satellites are human made bodies launched by various countries and are now orbiting the earth.
  • Rockets are used to place satellites is space.
  • Some countries which have so far independently launched satellites that orbit the earth are:
    Country Year of First Launch First Satellite
    Russia 1957 Sputnik 1
    U.S.A 1958 Explorer 1
    Britain 1964 Blue Streak
    France 1965 Asterix
    Japan 1970 Ohsumi
    China 1970 Dong Fang Hong 1
    U.K 1971 Prospero (X-3)
    India 1980 Rohini
    Israel 1988 Ofeq
    Nigeria 2003 SAT 1
  • Artificial satellites differ from one another in the following ways:
    • Size.
    • Function.
    • Height or orbit round the earth.
    • Slope of orbit.
    • Speed of revolution round the earth.

An Example of an Artificial Satellite (Photo Credit: QKnowBooks.com)

Uses of Satellites
  • Weather Satellites – These monitor the weather conditions in the atmosphere and supply the information to ground stations. This information helps to make accurate weather forecasts.
  • Observation Satellites – are used for geographical studies such as photographing of areas, map making, census, and locating mineral deposits, etc.
  • Communication Satellites – These satellites are sent into space for the purpose of sending information from one place to another.
  • Reconnaissance Satellites – They are used for military or intelligence purposes such as locating enemy locations or troop movement.
Nigerian Surveillance Satellite
  • Nigeria’s SAT 1 is called a surveillance satellite.
  • It is used to observe happenings on the ground and also for geographical mappings of boundaries between states.