Besides the making of an SNL skit about petty billionaires going into orbit as a lark, I was curious what is out there and how much after the story about the Chinese space station, needing to make a course correction because of a wayward satellite.
Apparently, there are right now, nearly 6,000 satellites circling our tiny planet. About 60% of those are defunct satellites—space junk—and roughly 40% are operational. (a potential future recycling business
The Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) has determined that only 2,666 operational satellites (of the 6,000) circled the globe in April of 2020.
Over the coming decade, it’s estimated by Euroconsult that 990 satellites will be launched every year. This means that by 2028, there could be 15,000 satellites in orbit.
Out of the 2,666 operational satellites circling the globe in April 2020, 1,007 were for communication services. 446 are used for observing the Earth and 97 for navigation/ GPS purposes.
I was surprised I thought it would be over 10,000 items out there, since we have been sending stuff up since Sputnik.