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Satellites

Although you can communicate over long distances with wireless, there are limits because the Earth's surface is curved and electromagnetic waves may be lost before reaching their intended destination.

The solution to these limitations is to use communication satellites high above the Earth's surface to relay information around the world.

Although there are now hundreds of satellites in orbit around the Earth, this scientific solution to the problem of long distance communication was thought up many years before the technology existed to achieve it.

How does a satellite orbit? : spinning around the earth

How does a satellite orbit? : spinning around the earth

The different satellite orbits : highs and lows

The different satellite orbits : highs and lows

Inside the communications satellite : which bit does what?

Inside the communications satellite : which bit does what?
fun and games

Can you beat our games? Explode equipment to see what's inside, hear the changing sounds of telecommunications, see how telecommunications designs have changed over time or send an e-postacard.

what's on

The UK's first permanent gallery dedicated to the history of information and communication technologies opens in the new Information Age gallery at London’s Science Museum.

audio history

Take a trip down memory lane with extracts of the interviews which have been recorded as part of the Connected Earth oral history programme.

featured story

100 years of automatic switching!
In 1912 the GPO installed Britain's first automatic telephone exchange in Epsom.

Discover the early days of the telephone...