Satellites - Voyagers of the Infosphere

Within thirty years, the launching of a satellite has developed from a major national event to a mere routine. The first satellite ever launched was the Soviet "Sputnik" in 1957, questioning the United State's role as the world's leader in technology. Four years later, the US finally managed to launch its first satellite "Mercury".

Today, satellites are commonplace tools of information technology and are used for communication, navigation, environmental monitoring and espionage, as well as for weather forecasting. In the late 1980s the number of commercial providers for satellite-based telecommunications began to explode.

From 1987 to 1996, Iridium corporation designed the hard and software for a global satellite telephone system. Between 1997 and 1998, Iridium launched 66 satellites. After extensive testing, the Iridium system took up commercial service on November 1, 1998. The model shows one of the 66 Iridium satellites, which in the meanwhile has been put out of business by its competitors.