Types of Space Vehicles

Published on: Mar 21 2011 by Shenron

With the booming technological development in the recent few decades, man has now able to explore the space as well. Many different space vehicles and artificial satellites are invented for this purpose. Some of the different types of space vehicles and artificial satellites which are used by astronomers to explore the celestial bodies are given below:

Unmanned Satellites: Unmanned satellites are the satellites used by astronomers to explore the space are the one which are sent forth into the space and controlled by radio signals from the ground station. Most of the exploration work is carried out by these unmanned satellites. Some of the common examples of unmanned satellites are Vanguard, Voyager and Marine.

Manned Satellites: Unlike unmanned satellite, manned satellites are launched into space with astronauts who collect data and carry out different studies in space. Manned satellites allow the astronauts and cosmonauts to explore the space from space capsule. The Apollo spaceship is one of the most apt examples of this type of spacecrafts.

Space Station: A space station is basically a research centre in the space. Astronauts are taken to space in capsules and docked in the Skylab. Astronauts carry out different experiments and come back to earth leaving behind the Skylab in the orbit. It was in May 14, 1973 when the first Skylab was launched into the space. The three astronauts stayed there and brought back about 300,000 pictures of the sun in addition to the pictures of the comet Kohoutek, Conrad, Kerwin, and Weitz.

Shuttle Vehicles: Shuttle vehicles are the spacecrafts which take off from the earth like any ordinary aircraft and reach the space and stay in the orbit similar to satellites. Some of the popular shutter vehicles used by NASA include Discovery, Columbia and Challenger.

Artificial Satellites

Artificial satellites are divided into different types based on their designs and the purpose for which they are assumed to perform. Some of the different types are:

Scientific Satellites: Scientific satellites are the satellites used to collect data regarding radiations, earth magnetic field, earth shape, temperature in space, micrometeoroids etc. These satellites are equipped with several different instruments and devices which collect the data from the space and send it to the earth. Explorer, Vanguard, Discoverer and Monitor are popular scientific satellites.

Weather Satellites: As the name suggests, these satellites are used to collect information regarding weather. Tiros series is a good example of such satellites.

Communications Satellites: Communication satellites are the satellites used for transmitting radio signals, telecasts, telephone calls, teleprints and telephotos to far-off regions of the world. Some of the popular satellites are Score, Echo, Telstar, West Ford, Relay, Syncom, and Courier.

Navigation Satellites: Navigation satellites such as Transit series are used to broadcast special radio signals to the aircrafts and ships in any sort of weather conditions.

Space Probe Satellites: Space probe satellites are used to collect data from the space. For instance, the Mariner satellites are used to collect data from the Venus and Mars. Some other series include Pioneer series, Surveyor series, and Ranger series.

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