Fascinating Information Details the History, Design, Use and Future Development of Six Types of Satellites Currently Orbiting Our Planet Since the launch of the Soviet satellite Sputnik in 1957, space has been considered the latest--and perhaps final--frontier of exploration, research, espionage, and even warfare. Forty-five years after the Soviets placed the small, beeping metal ball into orbit, there are now thousands of satellites orbiting our planet with very specialized jobs. Some of them, like earth imaging satellites, photograph Earth in order to track environmental changes. Others, like communications satellites, connect the peoples of the world together in an ever faster and tighter web of radio, television, cell phone, and computer connections. Some gaze outward to explore the darkest mysteries of deep space, while others gaze down on Earth to reveal the most shadowy secrets of our enemies. The Library of Satellites examines in detail some of the most intriguing, sophisticated, and technologically advanced satellites orbiting Earth. The first real time communications satellite was launched in 1962, allowing live broadcasts to be viewed on both sides of the Atlantic. Today, communications satellites provide services that those first viewers would hardly have been able to imagine: hundreds of television channels that broadcast directly to three-foot dishes; crystal-clear reception of the same radio station from coast to coast; table-top, laptop, and handheld personal computers; e-mail and instant messaging that truly are instant. The future promises further mind-boggling advances that will make communication even faster and easier. Ann Byers leads an intriguing tour throughthis brave new world of space-based technology.