Down to Earth: Satellite Technologies, Industries, and Cultures

Overview

Down to Earth presents the first comprehensive overview of the geopolitical maneuvers, financial investments, technological innovations, and ideological struggles that take place behind the scenes of the satellite industry. Satellite projects that have not received extensive coverage—microsatellites in China, WorldSpace in South Africa, SiriusXM, the failures of USA 193 and Cosmos 954, and Iridium—are explored. This collection takes readers on a voyage through a truly global industry, from the sites where ...

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Down to Earth: Satellite Technologies, Industries, and Cultures

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Overview

Down to Earth presents the first comprehensive overview of the geopolitical maneuvers, financial investments, technological innovations, and ideological struggles that take place behind the scenes of the satellite industry. Satellite projects that have not received extensive coverage—microsatellites in China, WorldSpace in South Africa, SiriusXM, the failures of USA 193 and Cosmos 954, and Iridium—are explored. This collection takes readers on a voyage through a truly global industry, from the sites where satellites are launched to the corporate clean rooms where they are designed, and along the orbits and paths that satellites traverse. Combining a practical introduction to the mechanics of the satellite industry, a history of how its practices and technologies have evolved, and a sophisticated theoretical analysis of satellite cultures, Down to Earth opens up a new space for global media studies.

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Editorial Reviews

Brown University

"Philosophers have looked upward into the starry heavens and been filled with wonder and awe. Down to Earth reverses the gaze, revealing how satellites impinge on so many aspects of our lives. Read it before Skynet goes online."

— James Der Derian

Choice

"Useful for readers interested in the evolution of media-oriented satellites and the cultures they serve. Recommended."
author of Speaking into the Air - John Durham Peters

"Grounded in fact and garnished with theory, this volume both excites and builds on a renewed appreciation for satellites…a treasurehouse of materials for people who want to figure out the technical colonization of the air!"
Brown University - James Der Derian

"Philosophers have looked upward into the starry heavens and been filled with wonder and awe. Down to Earth reverses the gaze, revealing how satellites impinge on so many aspects of our lives. Read it before Skynet goes online."
Choice

"Useful for readers interested in the evolution of media-oriented satellites and the cultures they serve. Recommended."
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Product Details

Meet the Author

LISA PARKS is a professor of film and media studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara. She is the author of Cultures in Orbit: Satellites and the Televisual and coeditor of Planet TV: A Global Television Reader.

 JAMES SCHWOCH is the senior associate dean for the School of Communication at Northwestern University in Qatar, and a professor at Northwestern University. His research explores the nexus of global media, media history, international studies, and global security.

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Table of Contents


Acknowledgments
Introduction

I Concepts and Cartographies
1. The Invention of Air Space, Outer Space, and Cyberspace
2. Dethroning the View from Above
3. The Geostationary Orbit
4. “Freedom to Communicate”
5. The NAVSTAR Global Positioning System
6. Satellites, Oil, and Footprints

II Satellite Mediascapes
7. From Satellite to Screen
8. Beyond the Terrestrial?
9. Crossing Borders
10. WorldSpace Satellite Radio and the South African Footprint
11. Content vs. Delivery

III Orbital Matters
12. When Satellites Fall
13. AFP-731 or The Other Night Sky
14. Microsatellites
15. Disjecta Membra, the Kármán Line, and the 38th Parallel

Contributors
Index

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