Visual Capitalist, October 20, 2020
Visualizing All of Earth’s Satellites
For centuries, humans have looked to space and the stars for answers. The fascination is more than philosophical—it’s coupled with the need to solve problems here on Earth.
Today, there are seemingly countless benefits and applications of space technology. Satellites, for instance, are becoming critical for everything from internet connectivity and precision agriculture, to border security and archaeological study.
Space is Open for Business
Right now, there are nearly 6,000 satellites circling our tiny planet. About 60% of those are defunct satellites—space junk—and roughly 40% are operational.
As highlighted in the chart above, The Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), determined that 2,666 operational satellites 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.
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