Report on Exposure to Satellites

It was a bright Saturday morning and we took off for a talk about space. The Astronomy Department was in the Physics building and was properly kept. About seven to eight staffs took their vacation off to expose us to what their jobs are all about.

         They are among the few in Malaysia who have the rights to give commands to the Tiungsat. Basically, their responsibilities are to monitor and maintain the batteries' function and temperature, give commands to the satellite, protect Tiungsat from radiation caused by the sun and many more. There were 2 professionals in designing a satellite and they worked hand in hand with a private company abroad to make possible a fresh idea of launching a satellite into deep space and then, letting it fall into an orbit nearer to earth.

They snap pictures via Tiungsat to supply research sources to students at UKM and other university and research centres, like MARDI. The pictures produced all have false colouring. A standard colouring system is set in a specific computer. This is because human eyes can' t recognize infrared light.

I learnt many things, including the Tiungsat 1 is only of the size of a typical computer and it passes Malaysia four times a day. It has its own natural orbit and maintains a same altitude because of the earth' s gravity pull. The Tiungsat can take images of up to 80 meters in length and width, which is not as efficient or clear as America' s "spy satellites" . These are called " spy satellites" because their existence is unknown to other countries. Although there have been rumors about their existence, nobody could prove it. This actually means that these high quality satellites could possibly be scanning into documents and top secrets now. Worse still, they could be watching over us anytime, anywhere.

            Overall, this excursion has deepened my interest in space and its ventures. It gave me a better understanding of what satellites are all about.