All of Earth’s Satellites: Who Owns Our Orbit? #infographic


All of Earth’s Satellites: Who Owns Our Orbit? #infographic

Human beings have looked to space and the stars for answers for decades. The fascination here on Earth is more than philosophical; it is paired with the desire to solve problems.

There are apparently infinite advantages and applications of space technology today. For instance, satellites are becoming vital for everything from internet connectivity and precision farming, to border protection and archaeological research.

There are about 6,000 satellites circling our tiny world right now. Approximately 60% of these are defunct space debris satellites and approximately 40% are active.

The Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) found that 2,666 operating satellites circled the globe in April 2020, as highlighted in the chart above.

Over the coming decade, it's predicted by Euroconsult that 990 satellites will be launched every year. This means 15,000 satellites will be in the sky by 2028.

The new space race continues its acceleration with the expected Starlink constellation of 12,000 satellites by SpaceX and the proposed constellation in the works by Amazon.

Let's take a closer look at who controls those satellites and how their technology is implemented.

Humans have used space for navigation for a long time. We now use satellites for GPS, navigation, and various other applications, while sailors once relied on the stars.

For commercial purposes, over half of the Earth's operational satellites are deployed. Around 61 percent of these, including everything from satellite TV and Internet of Things ( IoT) access to the global Internet, include communications.

In addition to communications, 27% of commercial Earth Observation (EO) satellites have been deployed, including environmental monitoring and border control.

However, commercial satellites can serve multiple purposes. A satellite may be 'tasked' for one week to photograph a disputed boundary. The reclamation of a mining site or even the aftermath of a natural disaster may be tracked later on.

Where a nationalistic rivalry between Cold War rivals was the initial space race, the current space race is collaborative and commercialized.

Today, international collaboration makes it possible to launch satellites, as well as research based on space. Before SpaceX, for hundreds of flights, NASA and the other space agencies running the International Space Station were relying on Russian Soyuz rockets.

SpaceX is on track to reduce launch costs by as much as US$ 6 million per flight with the success of its famous reusable rockets, which is likely to promote the proliferation of satellites in the coming years.

All signs point to a crowded orbit, with improved technologies and business collaborations.

All of Earth’s Satellites: Who Owns Our Orbit? #infographic

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