Space Briefing Book:
Components of a Satellite
Written by: Space Foundation Editorial Team
The parts of a satellite vary depending on the satellite’s function; however, there are some components commonly found on most satellites. These include:
Antennas: Satellite antenna systems are used to receive and transmit signals to and from Earth.
Command and Data Handling: The operational heart of a satellite, command and control systems monitor every aspect of the satellite and receive commands from Earth for operation.
Guidance and Stabilization: Sensors monitor the satellite’s position to ensure it remains in the correct orbit and is oriented toward the correct target. If necessary, thrusters and other maneuvers allow a satellite to fine-tune its position and orientation.
Housing: Constructed from strong materials that can withstand the harsh space environment.
Power: Most satellites rely on a solar array to convert sunlight into energy.
Thermal Control: Guards satellite equipment against extreme changes in temperature.
Transponders: Uplink and downlink signals arrive and depart at different frequencies. Transponders convert uplinked frequencies to downlink frequencies and then amplify the converted transmission for sending to Earth.