Parts of a Satellite
Colleen G ./ Physics #337 / 19 May 1997
Satellites are made up of components that make them useful to earth.
The components for each satellite depend on what each satellite is needed
to do. This falls into two major categories: what they are made of and
what they are made to do. Each category helps us to understand the functions
of satellites better
Major components of satellites
Satellites need a power source and special materials to make them lightweight
and durable. "All spacecraft, whatever the size, need a power source.
Unless the mission requires a vehicle to operate very far from the sun,
solar arrays and batteries will provide it with power" (Hogan 90).
The batteries may be nickel hydroxide cathodes with a platinum catalyst
anode. Potassium hydroxide is the electrolyte. Batteries are one of the
heaviest subsystems in a satellite. Gallium arsenide arrays can be used
for highly capable small satellites. Graphite epoxy make up the communications
satellite and aluminum is appropriate for small satellites.
What are they constructed
Satellite components need radio dishes, cameras, and telescopes to
do specific work. Radio dishes are used in communications satellites. Cameras
take pictures of the earth for weather satellites. Telescopes help make
pictures more clear and are used to study the universe. Subsystems help
instruments work together and keep the satellite operating. "Satellites
consist of certain building blocks: A power supply and distribution system,
telemetry and communications, a navigation system, on-board intelligence,
thermal management equipment, attitude control, a structure to carry all
of the above, and a payload" (Hogan 88) Satellites contain a payload
that has a weapons system, optics, big communications system, and scientific
instruments. "The payload can't function without the satellite that
supports and serves it" (Hogan 88).
Satellites need a wide range of components and a power source to help
them work. A structure holds all the components together. The major components
of satellites are constructed to each satellite for it to function for
its specific purpose.
Hogan, Brian J. "Voyages Go Lite." Design News. 6
September 1993: 87-93.
"Satellite, Artificial." Microsoft Encarta 96 Encyclopedia.
Corporation, Funk and Wagnalls Corporation, 1993-1995.