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Word Count: 477
Satellites orbit the earth doing our bidding in ways that enrich the lives of almost all of us Through electronic eyes from hundreds of miles overhead they lead prospectors to mineral deposits invisble on earths surface Relaying communications at the speed of light they shrink the planet until its most distant people are only a split second apart They beam world weather to our living room TV and guide ships through storms Swooping low over areas of possible hostility spies in the sky maintain a surveillance that helps keep peace in a volatile world How many objects exaclty are orbiting out there Todays count is 4914 The satellites begin with a launch which in the US takes place at Cape Canaveral in Florida NASAs Wallops Flight Center in Virginia or for polar orbiters Vandenberg Air Force Base in California One satellite in 20 is crippled by the jolt of lift-off or dies in the inferno of a defective rocket blast or is thrust into improper orbit A few simply vanish into the immensity of space When a satellite emerges from the rockets protective shroud radiotelemety regularly reports on its health to round-the-clock crews of ground controllers They watch over the temperatures and voltages of the crafts electronic nervous system and other
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