In the 17th century, scientist Isaac Newton talked about artificial satellites and in the 19th century, science fiction writers Edward Everett Hale and Jules Verne also shared their assumptions in their books on the topic.
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At the beginning of the 20th century, Konstantin Tsiolkovsky performed the calculations of launching spacecraft, and Herman Potočnik described orbiting spacecraft and the benefits of their observations of the Earth. In the middle of the same century, another science fiction writer Arthur Clarke examined in detail the use of satellites as a means of mass communication.
Satellite surveillance really finds the widest application and is of great value today. A truly huge layer of tasks is being solved in many areas: from agriculture and military intelligence to geology and cartography.
It is widely known throughout the world that the first artificial satellite was launched by the USSR on October 4, 1957. The chief designer was Sergei Korolev. However, the first images from space were obtained even earlier.
During the Second World War, German researcher Wernher von Braun developed the world’s first guided ballistic missile – V-2. A liquid-propellant rocket engine was installed on it, using liquids and / or liquefied gases as fuel. Rocket V-2 was seen as a weapon of retaliation.
After the fall of Germany, the Soviet Union, the USA, and Great Britain aimed to capture German industries and technologies. Von Braun and more than a hundred of the main employees of the V-2 development project ended up at the American military base, the Redstone arsenal.
The United States managed to capture enough equipment and components to build about 80 V-2 missiles. And the Soviet troops took possession of the production facilities, restored them, and then transferred them to the Soviet Union.
A mixture of ethanol and water and liquid oxygen as an oxidizing agent was used as fuel V-2. The rocket weighing 12.5 tons due to jet thrust reached a height of almost 90 km with an inclined path, and more than 200 km with a vertical launch. The maximum speed exceeded 5700 km/h.
The United States formed a committee of civilians in military scientists to develop useful rocket applications. So, on October 24, 1946, a V-2 rocket was launched from an American training ground.
Flying a suborbital trajectory, with a maximum distance from Earth of 105 km, black and white 35 mm film camera, installed onboard the rocket, made a series of images of our planet. It took place almost 11 years before the launch of the first artificial satellite.