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SATCOM 47, a late 20th century communications satellite orbiting Earth

A display of a network of artificial satellites

For natural satellite, please see moon.

An artificial satellite was a man-made form of technology that was put in orbit around a planet. (VOY: "Future's End, Part II") They had countless applications, including defense, weather forecast, surveillance, and communication, and were used by many cultures.



Earth launched its first artificial satellite, Sputnik, in 1957. This milestone was monitored by a Vulcan team. (ENT: "Carbon Creek")

T'Mir's statement that "It's hard to believe these people were capable of launching an artificial satellite" might suggest that species generally launched their first satellite later in their history.

By 1968, weather satellites were used. (TOS: "Assignment: Earth")

By the late 20th century, the cryonics fad had resulted in space modules being put into Earth's orbit. (TNG: "The Neutral Zone")

According to Tom Paris, by 1996 Earth had surveillance satellites in orbit. Satellite dishes were in use for communication with satellites. (VOY: "Future's End")

In 2024, news services used satellite images to assess what was happening in Sanctuary District A during the Bell Riots. The images showed a number of potential casualties. (DS9: "Past Tense, Part II")

By 2154, Starfleet Operations operated a grid of satellites in Earth orbit, capable of picking up any transporter activity on the planet. (ENT: "Affliction")


In 2097, the Vulcan High Command put a surveillance satellite in orbit of Weytahn to monitor potential violations of the Treaty of 2097. (ENT: "Cease Fire")

By 2154, Vulcan had a network of security satellites in orbit, providing satellite surveillance. (ENT: "Awakening")

United Federation of Planets

By the second half of the 24th century, Earth relied on a network of satellites for communications. (DS9: "Past Tense, Part I") Navigational control satellites were also in use, one of which was in orbit of Saturn. (TNG: "The First Duty")

By 2370, the Prytt Alliance became concerned that the Federation was helping the Kes to develop attack satellites, and claimed to have developed countermeasures. (TNG: "Attached")

By 2372, the Federation had deployed a relay satellite on the Gamma Quadrant side of the Bajoran wormhole. (DS9: "Paradise Lost")

Other species

Lazarus claimed to have survived the destruction of his civilization by being occupied with inspecting magnetic communications satellites when the destruction occurred. (TOS: "The Alternative Factor")

A Xindi-Arboreal colony visited by Enterprise in 2153 had no artificial satellites. (ENT: "The Shipment")

Satellites were used to generate the dispersion field protecting parts of the Torothan homeworld from orbital scans. (ENT: "Desert Crossing")

by 2151 Valakis had many satellites in orbit. (ENT: "Dear Doctor")

In 2153, the Azati Prime system featured a extremely sensitive security net, provided by a large array incorporating thousand of satellites. (ENT: "Azati Prime")

By 2267, the Eminian Union was using tricobalt satellites in the Eminiar-Vendikar War. (TOS: "A Taste of Armageddon")

Sometime before the destruction of the Vaadwaur homeworld in 1484, the Vaadwaur put a sentry satellite in geostationary orbit above one of their cities. (VOY: "Dragon's Teeth")

A Kohl settlement devastated by solar flares in 2353 was still orbited in 2372 by several by then-nonfunctional communications satellites. (VOY: "The Thaw")

In 2366, the Romulans claimed to be doing archaeological research on Nelvana III, using a cloaked satellite. (TNG: "The Defector")

A moon located in the Gamma Quadrant was orbited by a network of artificial satellites which attacked starships nearby and protected the imprisoned Ennis and Nol-Ennis. (DS9: "Battle Lines")

By 2373, Taresia was defended by a high-density polaron grid generated by a network of satellites. (VOY: "Favorite Son")

By 2376, the orbit of the Qomar homeworld was so filled with spaceships and satellites that entering it felt like navigating an obstacle course. (VOY: "Virtuoso")

List of artificial satellites

By type


See also

Background information

Satellites seem so common in the Star Trek universe that their absence was an indicator that the planet did not harbor a warp-capable civilization (for example, in "Strange New World", "Civilization", or "Time and Again"), or alternatively that a planet was only a minor outpost (for example in "The Shipment").

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