The Great Satellite List. 50 satellites In 30 words or less

Listed here are the 50 greatest Earth statement satellites that orbit silently over it. From the climate forecast to the precise location, every satellite has a function.

Do you assume you already know the distant sensing satellites?

Assume once more.

We describe every of them in 30 words or less. Categorised by revealed research articles.

1. International Navigation Satellite System (GNSS)

Picture credit score: NASA

A marvel of engineering. The elimination of selective availability has allowed us to precisely locate our GPS location anyplace on Earth utilizing this technique of 32 satellites.

2. Landsat

LandsatPicture credit: NASA

His unimaginable and lasting legacy has archived the historical past of the Earth for more than 40 years. With countless purposes, he even found Landsat Island in Canada.

3. Satellite Pour l'Remark de la Terre (SPOT)

Spot-5Image credit: Middle Nationwide d'Etudes Spatiales CNES

In 1986, the French satellite tv for pc SPOT-1 was a pioneer on the earth of distant sensing. Since then, it has captured the vegetation of the Earth, the elevation and even the Chernobyl disaster in Ukraine.

4. Mission to measure tropical precipitation (TRMM)

TRMMPicture credit: NASA

Tropical explorer observing cloud construction and precipitation roughly alongside the equator. By understanding these mechanisms, scientists can better predict international power balances, water cycles and El Niño.

5. Operational Environmental Operational Geostationary Satellite (GOES)

GOESImage credit score: NASA

GOES is aware of the time. Since 1975, this geostationary satellite tv for pc squadron (amongst others) are the unknown heroes in the prediction of our planet's weather.

6. Gravity and Local weather Restoration Experiment (GRACE)

GRACEImage credit score: NASA

Genius idea. The satellite tv for pc tag workforce nicknamed Tom & Jerry continually chasing one another. Every satellite tv for pc measures the displacements of the opposite where the attraction of gravity is strongest on Earth.

7. Terra

TerraPicture credit: NASA

Part of NASA's multi-talented A-Practice fleet. Capacities embrace land modeling (ASTER), land cover classification (MODIS) and air high quality monitoring (MOPITT).

8. EnviSAT

EnvisatPicture credit score: Airbus & Defense / ESA

Before dropping contact in 2012, he was a weightlifter in oceanic, hydrological, terrain and atmospheric studies. On account of its large construction (eight tons), it is a candidate to be removed from orbit.

9. Satellite of the Nationwide Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

NOAAImage credit score: NASA

The NOAA satellites permit us to have an entire view of the weather and environmental circumstances all over the world every single day.

10. Superior terrestrial remark satellite tv for pc (ALOS)

Image credit: JAXA

The JAXA ALOS World 3D (DAICHI) is probably the most correct DEM on the planet with a decision of 5 meters and a peak accuracy of 5 meters. ALOS-2 has several updates, together with its PALSAR L-band radar and stereo mapping (PRISM).


Picture credit: © Canadian Area Agency

Radarsat-2 is Canada's C-band surveillance radar from area. Its Three future satellites which might be a part of the mission of the Radarsat constellation will give attention to the administration of the assets of the land mass of the Great White North.

12. PlanetScope (Paloma)

DOVEImage credit score: Planet

Low value. Light-weight. Low earth This orchestra of micro satellites (nicknamed pigeons) orbit the Earth in live performance scanning pictures of Three-5 meters resolution.


METEOSATPicture credit score: ESA

Geostationary meteorological observer in Europe and Africa. Ship climate pictures in Europe one every 15 minutes for the climate forecast.

14. Sentinel

SentinelPicture credit score: ESA

The thrilling fleet of 6 missions of the Copernicus Program to know the climate of the Earth. The 12 spectral bands of Sentinel-2 and the true colour of 10 meters are a change in the open knowledge.

15. Crown

CROWNPicture credit: National Recognition Office

Strategic, the army James Bond-style satellite within the 60s that was used to spy on the Soviet Union. Recognition photographs have been declassified and at the moment are generally used amongst archaeologists.
Picture credit: Nationwide Recognition Office


Image courtesy © 2017 DigitalGlobe

Marvel of satellites at the time, IKONOS was the first business satellite that was granted a license in America. Nevertheless, IKONOS-1 never reached area. IKONOS-2 did it and was renamed IKONOS.

17. TerraSAR (TanDEM-X)

TERRASARPicture courtesy of Airbus & Protection

German twin satellites that carved the incomparable WorldDEM utilizing the X SAR band. TerraSAR can also be extremely helpful for floor motion, catastrophe mitigation and environmental purposes.

18. Gravity Subject and Ocean Circulation in Stationary State Explorer (GOCE)

JOYImage courtesy of ESA / Airbus & Defense

GOCE focuses on measuring the gravity subject of the Earth and the conduct of the ocean with unprecedented detail. That is achieved with a high sensitivity gradiometer and three pairs of accelerometers.

19. Worldview

WorldviewImage courtesy © 2017 DigitalGlobe

DigitalGlobe's high-resolution, state-of-the-art satellite tv for pc that may create ridiculously sharp pictures (31 cm) by virtually deciphering license plates.

20. Quickbird

Picture courtesy © 2017 DigitalGlobe)

The versatile and cost-effective QuickBird satellite offered high-resolution (60 cm) optical photographs without any issues on the planet. In 2015, it was dismantled.

21. Soil Moisture and Oceanic Salinity (SMOS)

Image credit: ESA

Coarse passive instrument that weighs on soil moisture and ocean salinity to enhance our information of terrestrial and oceanic processes.

22. ResourceSAT

ResourceSATPicture credit: ISRO

Initially referred to as IRS, ResourceSAT is a polar-synchronous Indian satellite with average multispectral decision. It’s also recognized for the surveillance of ships with payload of the Automated Identification System.

23. Aqua

AquaPicture credit: NASA

NASA's multipurpose satellite tv for pc takes benefit of the Earth's water cycle by measuring relative humidity (AIRS / AMSU), cloud peak (CERES) and power circulate (AMSR-E). Its polar orbit gives a repeated protection that permits to see the whole surface of the Earth each 1 or 2 days.

24. Lidar remark of aerosols in clouds and the infrared satellite Pathfinder (CALIPSO)

CALYPSOPicture credit score: NASA

CALIPSO graphs the vertical profiles of the cloud construction utilizing laser know-how and a particular sensor for cirrus clouds.

25. China-Brazil Earth Resource Satellite (CBERS)

CBERSImage credit score: CBERS / INPE

China and Brazil join in a joint five-fold mission to watch all the things from agriculture, the surroundings, water air pollution and concrete planning in their respective nations.

26. Ferry radar survey mission (SRTM)

SRTMPicture credit score: NASA

Sculpted mannequin of the Earth's floor SRTM-30 using two radar antennas and interferometry. On board area shuttle Endeavor, it only took 11 days to accomplish this troublesome feat.

27. IceSAT

Picture credit score: NASA / JPL-Caltech

The Chilled-out satellite tv for pc, which has made more than 904 million measurements of the Earth's surface utilizing the first area laser altimeter (GLAS) that measures every little thing from forest peak to ice thickness.

28. Television Infrared Remark Satellites (TIROS)

SHOOTINGPicture credit score: NASA

Earth's low-orbit satellite of the 1960s for television infrared climate observations. It was essential to send early storm alerts.

29. Joint network of altimetry and oceanography satellites (JASON)

JASONPicture credit score: NASA

Predecessor of TOPEX / Poseidón, the JASON Altimeter is answerable for mapping the ocean flooring bathymetry and sea degree elevation for the Ocean Floor Survey Mission.

30. CloudSAT

CloudSATImage credit score: NASA

Virtually as if it had its head within the clouds, this satellite profiles its vertical undulating formation with radar. As a result of clouds affect climate and local weather, this is key to understanding atmospheric and hydrological cycles.

31. Aura

AURAImage credit score: NASA

NASA satellite devoted to discovering air quality and climate well being. 4 instruments (HIRDLS, MLS, OMI & TES) measure trace gases, temperature and aerosols in the upper environment.


KOMPSATCopyright of the picture © Korean Aerospace Research Institute KARI

Also referred to as Arirang, this multispectral satellite offers 1 meter decision artificial aperture radar (SAR) photographs that monitor North Korea's army activities and more.

33. Venture of Autonomy on Board (PROBA)

PROBAPicture credit score: ESA

Microcube satellite with hyperspectral knowledge of 30 meters. Utilizing its deft viewing angles, PROBA had produced a world-class thick international vegetation file.

34. Earth Statement Mission-1 (EO-1)

EO-1Picture credit: NASA

He promoted science and innovation by means of the validation of superior instrumentation by means of the New Millennium Program (NMP) of NASA. Its Hyperion sensor sees 220 spectral bands of wavelengths to raised characterize the minerals and traits of the Earth.

35. RapidEye


RapidEye originated in Germany. It was purchased by BlackBridge and now Planet. Regardless of a number of house owners, this constellation of 5 satellites nonetheless offers a large, high decision (5 meters) strip anyplace on Earth, no less than once a day.

36. Lively Passive Soil Moisture (SMAP)

SMAPImage credit score: NASA

Lively and passive sensors matched to measure the global humidity of the soil at a superb scale. As a result of sensor malfunction, every little thing is passive, just like SMOS.

37. Pleiades

PLEIADESPicture courtesy of ESA / Airbus & Protection

2 agile business satellites working in the identical orbit. Pleiades captures unimaginable details (2 meters) and may scan the Earth in any course.

38. Suomi

SUOMIPicture credit score: Copyright © NOAA

Polar orbit meteorological satellite recognized for its short-term weather forecasts and its wide selection of terrestrial, oceanic and atmospheric measurements. It has captured views of monstrous tornadoes and supercells.

39. CartoSAT

CartoSATCopyright of the image © ISRO

The Indian business satellite cartography collection collects terrestrial info with multispectral, panchromatic and stereoscopic cartography capabilities.

40. GeoEye

GeoEyePicture courtesy © 2017 DigitalGlobe

The high-resolution image satellite from Google (1.65 meters) is so clear that ecologists have used it to track the animal inhabitants. It isn’t by probability that additionally it is utilized in Google Maps.

41. Multiscale magnetospheric mission (MMS)

MMSPicture credit: NASA

This specialised magnetosphere satellite has a singular tetrahedral formation consisting of four equivalent spacecraft to map the interaction between the solar and the Earth's magnetic area (magnetic reconnection).

42. Catastrophe Monitoring Constellation (DMC)


DMC dominates catastrophe monitoring with its extremely responsive humanitarian constellation. It consists of AISAT-1, BilSAT, NigeriaSAT, UK-DMC, Beijing-1, Deimos-1 and NigeriaSAT.

43. Polar orbit operational environmental satellites (POES)

POESImage credit: NOAA

NOAA's polar-orbiting meteorological satellite tv for pc has eliminated a few of the thriller of atmospheric phenomena with high spatial and temporal resolution pictures.

44. Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter (MOLA)

Image credit score: NASA

The reigning monarch, the satellite of Mars. This interplanetary mission orbits the purple planet. It has found historic river beds on the floor of Mars with its elevation knowledge.

45. SciSAT

SciSATImage credit score: Canadian Area Company

SciSAT has an evening orbit that crawls within the shadows of the Earth. It data ozone depletion that can not be captured by balloons, airplanes or other satellites in orbit.

46. ​​SeaStar (Orbview-2)

SeaStarPicture credit score: NASA

Ocean biologists use the wide-field-of-view (SeaWIFS) sensor to quantify the color change of chlorophyll produced by marine crops.

47. QuickSCAT

QuickSCATPicture courtesy of NASA / JPL-Caltech

Satellite surfers of selection with their speedy calculations of dispersion of sea surface winds and path over ice-free oceans.

48. SkySat

SkySatCopyright © SkyBox Imaging. All rights reserved.

The sort of contraption that James Bond uses to spy on super-villains. This business satellite is able to capturing video photographs and multispectral sub-metric pictures.


ACRIMSATImage credit: NASA / JPL

The ACRIMSAT solar monitor carried out experimental research for Complete Solar Irradiance. It registered a 0.1% reduction in photo voltaic depth brought on by the shadow of Venus in 2004.

50. Megha-Tropique

Megha-TrophiquePicture credit: ESA

The objective of this meteorological satellite is to navigate the tropics to raised understand the worldwide water cycle and local weather change (International Power and Water Cycle Experiment – GEWEX).


There are lots of of makes use of and purposes of distant sensing which might be being linked to the world by which we stay.

For instance, time, navigation, gravity, climate change and the magnetosphere are greatest understood from area.

As each meticulously planned area mission is launched, we will cowl far more floor.

Translated from: gisgeography