How Many Satellites Are There?


Quick Answer

As of 2014, over 3,700 man-made satellites orbit around the Earth. However, only approximately 1,100 of these are currently active. The rest are defunct or temporarily inactive.

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Full Answer

The first satellite was launched into space in 1957 by the Soviet Union. Since then multiple governments and private companies have had satellites launched into orbit for communications, GPS, surveillance, defense and research. Many satellites that are in lower orbits are programmed to fall back to Earth and burn up in the atmosphere, once they are out of use. Satellites in higher orbits, that become defunct, are pushed further into space to ensure that they do not obstruct future satellites.

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