How many satellites are there, and will there be?

The number of satellite circling the Earth right now is approaching 5,000. The number that are not broken, and are being actually used, is just over 1,000. However, Space X, Elon Musk’s megacompany, is approved to launch well over 10,000 satellites over the next several years, to serve a single purpose: Give broadband internet to every human on Earth no matter where they are.

Unless it is cloudy, I guess. I mean, Satellite TV does not work when the weather is bad.

Not to be a curmudgeon about this, but I wonder if this increases the likelihood of a Kessler event?

There are important details. Most of these satellites will be in low orbit, and a large number will be in even lower orbit. I assume this means that of the several thousand satellites circling the Earth at 1,000 to 1,400 km, there will be a regular replacement cycle, because don’t low orbit satellites’ orbits wear down?

Anyway, it is a very interesting project. Read about it here.

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3 thoughts on “How many satellites are there, and will there be?

  1. “I mean, Satellite TV does not work when the weather is bad.”
    Really? I have watched satellite TV for over 10 years and it never stopped working. That’s in Wales with quite variable weather.

  2. Micro satellites at 1,000 Km and above will stay in orbit for many years.
    Satellites in the much lower orbit might last only 6 months or so depending on the increase in atmospheric density due to the solar 11-year cycle.

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