Space is running out of space [and time]

Humans have put 8,378 objects into space since the first Sputnik in 1957 and at the beginning of 2019 4,987 satellites were still up there, and 1957 are operational. From 1964to 2012 roughly 131 satellites were launched every year. In 2017 453 satellites were launched in space. In 2018, the number fell to 382. But 5200 are planned over the next four years and another 9,300 thereafter. That’s 15,000 satellites.

❝ First, wow…. how far have we come where the cost of launching a bird is so cheap now. Secondly, the unintended consequences of these many birds are going to be pretty substabtial. No one should be surprised if some complications develop overhead and cause problems down on the planet.

Think we’ll get it sorted?

3 thoughts on “Space is running out of space [and time]

  1. nicknielsensc says:

    With collisions and other incidents, including White’s lost glove, there are several hundred thousand man-made objects in orbit about the Earth. Of those, less than 20,000 are large enough to track. The national security and space communities have been worrying about it for decades. The general public won’t care, or even understand the consequences unless something punches through the ISS during a live feed.

    I discovered an excellent visualization of what’s up there a few years ago. The Stuff in Space ( website displays the orbits of all known objects in Earth orbit. You can select satellite groups (GPS, Iridium, etc.) or even specific satellites. Vanguard 1 is still up there after 61 years!

  2. Tom Corbett says:

    The first artificial Earth satellite was launched by the Soviet Union into an elliptical low Earth orbit on 4 October 1957. It orbiting for three weeks before its batteries died, then silently for two more months before falling back into the atmosphere.
    Elon Musk’s Starlink, once complete, will consist of nearly 12,000 satellites — more than six times the number of all operational spacecraft now in orbit. The goal is to finish the project in 2027, thereby blanketing the Earth with high-speed, low-latency, and affordable internet access.

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