Tasmin Archer’s “Sleeping Satellite” Lyrics Meaning

Tasmin Archer and her collaborators wrote this song on the 20th anniversary of NASA’s Apollo program successfully putting a man on the moon for the first time. That feat occurred in 1969. And the elaborate metaphors used throughout are actually intended to point to the idea that in the eyes of the singer virtually no progress has been made in space exploration between then and the year in which “Sleeping Satellite” was dropped.  

That is to say she feels that the energy expended in ‘rushing’ to land on the moon may have resulted in a general lack of interest as to what was supposed to occur after this goal was reached. Or let’s say she is challenging the human race to pick up the gauntlet and once again make another impressive achievement in space exploration. She basically wants man to actually build upon the success of the moon landing.

She also drops a few lines pointing to the environmental degradation of the Earth itself. And apparently such is meant to fit into the overall theme of the song by alluding to the prospect of humans one day perhaps being compelled to colonize the moon.

What’s the meaning of “Sleeping Satellite”?

The term “sleeping satellite” itself is a direct reference to the moon. That much we do know. But at certain points of the song, the lyrics themselves are extremely-challenging to decipher. For instance, in the first verse it is not clear who exactly the singer is addressing when she is ‘blaming’ someone or something “for the moonlit sky”. 

But when she mentions “the dream that died with the Eagle’s flight”, that would most likely point to the aforementioned idea of space exploration neglected since the Apollo program. We can come to such a conclusion as “Eagle” was the name of one of Apollo 11’s lunar modules. And the “dream that died” would once again be the quest for space exploration.

Lyrics of "Sleeping Satellite"

Afterwards she asks, seemingly rhetorically, “are the seas still dry?” This ‘sea’ she is referring to is actually the Sea of Tranquility. This was an appellation given to the area of the moon where Apollo 11 landed. So with that particular statement, it appears as if the idea she is generally alluding to is that her curiosity of the moon has never been adequately satiated. And why? Because study of the “sleeping satellite” was never continued after the moon landing itself.


But such specific hypothesizing are theories we have put together based on foreknowledge of the song’s meaning. For at the end of the day, some decades after this track has been released, the highly-poetic nature of its lyrics has lent to different understandings even amongst actual fans of the tune. And the writers themselves seem to have never expounded on the precises meaning of the individual lines of the song. But what we have been able to ascertain is the track’s general meaning. And it is that “Sleeping Satellite” serves as an expression of Tasmin Archer’s disappointment with the lack of progress in space exploration in the 20 years after the successful Apollo mission.

Release Date of “Sleeping Satellite”

Being released on 1 September 1992, this is the first song British singer Tasmin Archer ever dropped. The track was issued by EMI in the UK, as they did in the US alongside Capitol Records and SBK Records. And it was featured on Tasmin’s debut album, which is entitled “Great Expectations”.

International Hit

The tracked proved to be mega-successful, scoring a number one on the UK Singles Chart. It also performed likewise in Ireland and Greece. Furthermore, it charted in almost 15 other nations, including breaking the top 40 of the Billboard Hot 100.

Who wrote “Sleeping Satellite”?

Tasmin Archer wrote “Sleeping Satellite” along with two of her regular collaborators, John Hughes and John Beck. And its producers are Julian Mendelsohn and Paul Wickens.

2 Responses

  1. Terry says:

    It wasn’t just a loss of interest in the space program. Lots of people were protesting the amount of money spent on space exploration, while people were starving in many parts of the world. Public opinion turned against the space program. Politicians cut NASA’s funding to appease the voters. That’s why it died.

  2. Anonymous says:

    One word – clitor*s. Now listen to it again.

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