Scientific Satellite Spacecraft

  • Richard SchmudeJr.
Part of the Astronomers' Observing Guides book series (OBSERVING)


Many satellites are designed to gather information on extraterrestrial bodies. We will call these “spacecraft.” One of the earliest spacecraft, Luna 3, imaged the far side of the Moon. The former USSR launched it on the second anniversary of Sputnik 1. Since 1959, the United States, the former USSR, Japan, China, India and the European Space Agency have launched spacecraft beyond Earth’s orbit. The main objective of these has been to gather scientific data. Some have enabled astronomers to better understand our Sun and how it heats Earth, while others have given us a better understanding of the processes at work on other planets. In this chapter, we will give an overview of the different types of spacecraft missions. Afterwards, we will describe seven specific spacecraft in detail. These seven and the countries/agencies that launched them are: Chang’e-1 (China), Chandrayaan-1 (India), Hayabusa (Japan), Hubble Space Telescope (United States), Cassini (United States and the European Space Agency), Spektr-R (Russia) and Gaia (European Space Agency).


Lunar Surface Hubble Space Telescope Very Large Array Cosmic Origin Spectrograph Space Telescope Image Spectrograph 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Richard SchmudeJr.
    • 1
  1. 1.BarnesvilleUSA

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