Design and Technology KS3/4: How do satellites survive in space?

Satellites have to withstand incredibly hostile conditions in space.

Temperatures can fluctuate between 150 degrees Celsius and minus 200 degrees Celsius, so it’s imperative that a satellite’s on-board electronics are protected from these extreme conditions.

Katy Smith, a Thermal Architect, explains some of the clever innovations engineers use to keep the interior at a constant temperature.

Teacher Notes

Ask students to design a practical activity which they could use to test a material’s suitability for use in an extreme environment.

Students could investigate this for themselves using journals or the internet, for example.

They are then challenged to report their findings to audience of top set Year 9 students or non-scientists.

Curriculum Notes

This clip will be relevant for teaching Design and Technology or Physics.

This topic appears in OCR, Edexcel, AQA, WJEC KS4/GCSE in England and Wales, CCEA GCSE in Northern Ireland and SQA National 4/5 and Higher in Scotland.