Shooting for the stars
From the successful launches of the first few satellites from America and the Soviet Union, other countries wanted to launch their own satellites as well. By 1980, 23 other countries launched satellites into space, either independently or with assistance from NASA or Soviet spacecrafts since they had prior experience. The satellites had different uses, ranging from studying the environment in space to testing broadcasting and telecommunication.
During this time, commercial satellites funded and established by corporations were also starting to gain traction. The first commercial use of a satellite was the Telstar 1, launched in 1962, which was capable of transmitting live television, telephone, fax and other related signals across the Atlantic Ocean. This later led to the launch of Syncom 3, which aired the 1964 Olympic Games held in Tokyo across televisions in the US. By 1965, the Intelsat 1 communication satellite was launched, giving instant contact between Europe and North America and proved that satellite based communication could be commercialized.
Since then, thousands of satellites have been launched into space, improving the way we communicate, helping us understand our environment on Earth and explore our galaxy. Many of the modern scientific discoveries we know today are thanks to satellite technology. We are more connected than ever before as a society thanks to satellite telecommunications.
, you are able to see the labours of this history, by browsing our satellites in action
. Check out the extensive archive of imagery from research satellites like Landsat from NASA
and Sentinel from the European Space Agency
Want higher resolution imagery from SkyMap50 instead
? You can draw an area of interest on the base map order directly from Soar. Wonder where a satellite currently is in its orbit? Select which satellites you’d like to track and its movement is visualized on the main page.