The number one question people ask about satellites is, "How many satellites are currently up there?".

The simple answer is that there are approximately 20,000 unique satellites orbiting the Earth right now.

The number two question is, "How many of these satellites are working (active)?". The answer is about a tenth of them (2,000) are working properly. The remaining satellites are garbage in the form of dead payloads, spent rockets or debris from either.

The total number quoted above is the number of known unclassified objects orbiting us. The total number of "classified" objects orbiting us is, of course, somewhat unknown.

Nobody can currently detect satellites that are under 1 centimetre in size. It has been postulated that the number of these tiny objects could be in the order of tens or even hundreds of thousands, but this is pure speculation.

Can this amount of satellites pose a risk of collision? The answer before February 10, 2009 was "Yes, but an extremely slim chance." The answer after February 10, 2009 is "Yes, and unfortunately a major collision has already happened."





How Many? Was Last Modified On June 07, 2013