Counting Earth Satellites

A place to post details relating to artificial satellite observations

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brian livesey
Posts: 5880
Joined: Mon Jan 09, 2006 11:05 am
Location: Lancashire

Counting Earth Satellites

Post by brian livesey »

Since the launch of Russia's Sputnik 1 in 1957, there are now almost two thousand working satellites in orbit, not to mention millions of pieces of associated "space junk", including spent rocket parts.
Sputnik 1 wasn't a working satellite, it merely carried a radio transmitter that beeped its presence across the sky in Earth-orbit. Nevertheless, it was heralded as a technical achievement at the time and it shook up the Americans to speed up their own space programme.
America presently leads the world in the top ten of satellite launching countries, with 830 working satellites in orbit. China comes second with 280 and Russia third with 147. The UK lags behind Japan in sixth place with 54 satellites in orbit. Germany at number ten has 29 in orbit. There are 846 commercial satellites in use, 385 in government use, 302 military satellites, 279 of mixed use, and 145 civilian satellites.
Now numerous cubesats are being placed in Earth-orbit, much to the consternation of astrophysicists, who regard them as obstacles to astrophysical observations.
Last edited by brian livesey on Thu Jun 13, 2019 2:45 pm, edited 2 times in total.
Posts: 3829
Joined: Fri Dec 03, 2004 9:58 pm
Location: Wellingborough

Re: Counting earth satellites

Post by Brian »

How many secret military satellites are up there I wonder. (I watch too much Discovery/History Channel stuff :D ).
Also, how are "commercial" and "civilian" satellites differentiated?
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