Requirements For Self-Sufficiency In Artificial Satellite Technology
Artificial satellites play an important role in serving mankind. To attain self-sufficiency in satellite technology and to use it effectively for the benefit of its people, a country must meet the following requirements:
(a) Fabrication of Satellites
Expertise is required in the planning, designing and fabbrication of satellites. Each satellite has to be designed according to the purpose for which it is to be used. So, proper planning is required before finalizing the design of a satellite. Then one should have the basic infrastructure to fabricate parts of the satellite with high degree of precision, and to assemble the satellite.
(b) Launch Vehicles
To place a satellite into orbit, it needs to be accelerated in several stages. The required acceleration is produced by firing rockets at various stages of its flight. These rockets are fitted into a system called the launch vehicle or launcher which carries the satellite. By firing rockets at appropriate heights, the launch vehicle takes the satellite to the desired height and places it in orbit with the required speed. To be self-sufficient in satellite technology, a country needs to be able to design and fabricate its own launch vehicles. Several countries offer their launch vehicles commercially to be used by other countries to munch satellites.
(C) Earth Control Station
Once a satellite is launched and placed in its orbit, all its operations are controlled from an earth control station. The messages sent by the sensors on the satellite are analyzed by the computers at the earth control station. Appropriate commands are sent to the satellite to control its functioning. A satellite can deviate from its orbit due to various reasons such as meteorite bombardment, forces due to the moon and the sun, forces due to magnetic fields, etc. The earth control station keeps a close watch on such deviations and issues commands to the satellite to make necessary corrections in orbit. If any fault develops in any equipment on the satellite, the earth control station attempts to rectify it, or activates backup equipment if available on the satellite. For communication satellites, the earth station controls the position and orientation of the antenna on the satellite as required from time to time. In brief, the normal functioning of a satellite is monitored and controlled from the earth control station.
(d) Ground Facilities for Utilizing Satellite Technology
If the benefits of a satellite are to reach all areas of a country, appropriate ground facilities have to be developed. For example, if we use satellites for communications, we should have receiving antennas and other systems spread over the length and the breadth of the country.