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The United States government launched the Vela satellite looking for nuclear detonations. And then looking in outer space they saw these monster explosions take place. And the military thought, Oh my God, the Russians! The Russians are testing secret atomic weapons in space. They began to look at where this radiation came from. It came from all over the galaxy, beyond the galaxy ... Then people began to realise that we were staring something new in the face. Professor Michio Kaku
Call me a conspiracy theorist but is this porn or state secrets? In an office somewhere in Britain mysterious men in beards push a trolley and work on a covert programme called Secret Society: the secret was called Zircon. A spy satellite. Enter the cops stage right. To spark the decade’s biggest media scandal. Secret Society: Zircon
The Zircon affair made the [Andrew] Gilligin affair look like a tea party. ibid.
Britain’s first ever spy satellite soon to be going into space. The new British spy satellite has been a bigger secret than the nuclear programme. Until today only a few people had been allowed to know its codename: Zircon. Duncan Campbell: Secret Society: Zircon, 1987
That clearly was not in the public interest to ban it; they just didn’t want people to know. And what they didn’t want people to know was that we had no capacity to target nuclear weapons. We are entirely dependent on the American satellite system. Tony Benn
Astronomy may be revolutionized more than any other field of science by observations from above the atmosphere. Study of the planets, the Sun, the stars, and the rarefied matter in space should all be profoundly influenced by measurements from balloons, rockets, probes and satellites ... In a new adventure of discovery no one can foretell what will be found, and it is probably safe to predict that the most important new discovery that will be made with flying telescopes will be quite unexpected and unforeseen. Lyman Spitzer, article Bulletin of the Scientists May 1961 ‘Flying Telescopes’
10th July 1962: the real Telstar satellite was built by AT&T, the phone company. Neil deGrasse Tyson, Nova: Origins: Back to the Beginning, PBC 2004
August 18th 1960: 160 kilometres above the Earth a secret race in space has just begun. Corona – America’s first photographic spy satellite – has become operational. The capsule was loaded with nearly a kilometre of film. Nova: Astrospies, PBS 2008
It will be possible in a few more years to build radio controlled rockets which can be steered into such orbits beyond the limits of the atmosphere and left to broadcast scientific information back to the Earth. A little later, manned rockets will be able to make similar flights with sufficient excess power to break the orbit and return to Earth. Arthur C Clarke, 1945
A hundred years ago, the electric telegraph made possible – indeed, inevitable – the United States of America. The communications satellite will make equally inevitable a United Nations of Earth; let us hope that the transition period will not be equally bloody. Arthur C Clarke
Unable to dock properly with Solar Max, Nelson tried instead to stop the satellite spinning with his hands. Nelson’s efforts had only made Solar Max to tumble faster, and for a while the mission seemed a failure. Happily though those on the ground managed to slow the spinning satellite. Horizon: Beyond the Moon, BBC 1984
In 1990 the [Hubble] telescope was deployed into space. Instead of the pin-sharp pictures they were expecting they got these – smudges barely better than ground-based satellites could produce ... Once again Nasa was under attack. The Space Shuttle: A Horizon Guide, BBC 2011
220 miles above the Earth on 12th March 2009 ... the Space Station ... got an unusual message ... Some orbital debris ... The space junk was travelling at the same speed in the opposite direction. Horizon: The Trouble with Space Junk, BBC 2015
Satellites are virtually defenceless against high-speed orbital debris. And they’re crucial to modern life on Earth. ibid.
We have your satellite. If you want it back send 20 billion in Martian money. No funny business or you will never see it again. Graffiti reportedly written on wall at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab 1999 after loss of Mars Polar Lander
A new generation of solar satellites has revealed just how big these solar flares are and how vulnerable are planet is. The Universe s5e3: Magnetic Storm, History 2010
Space weather can affect satellites surrounding Earth. How the Universe Works s2e8: Birth of the Earth, Science 2012
Kepler is the first ever satellite solely devoted to the hunt for planets outside our solar system. Through The Wormhole with Morgan Freeman s1e6: Are We Alone? Science 2010
What if the aliens don’t need things like bodies? Looking for life as we know it could be a mistake. ibid.
New Moon: Reds Launch First Space Satellite. Universal-International News, voice Ed Herlihy
The launch of the Sputnik satellite was a real shock in Britain. And in the USA. Because both Britain and the US believed they were in advance of the Soviets technically, and then the Soviets go and launch a satellite which we couldn’t do. Beautiful Minds: Professor Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell, BBC 2010
Telstar had shrunk the wireless world. The Genius of Invention III: Communication, BBC 2013
Inside that rocket about to blast off into space are six satellites. And they will join thousands of other satellites in order around our planet. Part of the latest technology that we take completely for granted. In Orbit: How Satellites Rule Our World, BBC 2012
These are the satellites that have changed our world. ibid.
In 1957 a Russian rocket carried the first man-made object into orbit above the Earth. ibid.
Satellites would allow Soviet and American spies to photograph each other from a perfect overhead viewpoint. ibid.
The first satellite to relay a television signal was Telstar in 1962. ibid.
We are now on the launchpad of a second satellite revolution ... The age of the personal satellite. ibid.
Scientists use satellites to track weather, map ice sheet melting, detect diseases, show ecosystem change ... Nearly every scientific field benefits or could benefit from satellite imagery analysis. Sarah Parcak
There are so many previously unknown sites and structures all over the world. And I think most importantly what satellites help to show us is we’ve actually only found a fraction of a percent of ancient settlements and sites all over the world. Sarah Parcak
Satellite technology has changed everything. Egypt’s Lost Cities, BBC 2013
Tiny Satellites: The Latest Innovation Hedge Funds Are Using to Get a Leg Up: The latest technological innovation for data-hungry hedge funds is a fleet of five dozen shoebox-sized satellites. The Wall Street Journal article Bradley Hope 14th August 2016