Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Editorial Exchange:

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Editorial Exchange:

Article excerpt

Editorial Exchange:

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An editorial from the Prince George Citizen, published Oct. 1:

On Saturday Canada marked the 50th anniversary of the becoming a space-faring nation.

Canada launched the Alouette-1 satellite on Sept. 29, 1962, in partnership with NASA, from the Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.

Alouette-1 operated 1,000 kilometres above Earth for 10 years, gathering and transmitting over a million images of the ionosphere. Although the satellite was shut off in 1972, it still orbits today - making it the second-oldest human-made object still in space.

Alouette-1 was the eighth artificial satellite in orbit, and set new standards in satellite design. Alouette-1's 10-year operational life was 33 per cent longer than any previous satellite.

The roll-up antennas and batteries used on the satellite inspired many future designs.

At the time of it's launch, Canada was the fourth country to have a satellite in orbit and third to have designed a successful satellite.

A photo of the Alouette-1 from 1961 shows three earnest young men -Dr. Colin Franklin, Keith Brown and Dr. John Barry - working on the satellite. The black-and-white image shows them wearing suites, ties and thick-rimmed glasses - both contact lenses and colour film were still rare and expensive technologies at the time.

Fifty years ago when Franklin, Brown and Barry were working on Alouette-1, they could not have known how important, and how pervasive, satellite technology would become.

You probably have some satellite technology in your pants pocket or purse. These days even semi-smart cell phones have GPS technology.

GPS, Global Positioning System, receivers use signals from a network of satellites in orbit to calculate your position anywhere on Earth.

That's why your smart phone always knows where it is, even if you don't.

If you click the weather app on your smart phone, you'll get up-to-date weather forecasts for your location. …

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