Idealog - - PROFILE -

With Rock­et­lab plan­ning a weekly launch, that’s a lot of satel­lites in space. But like Dou­glas Adams says, space is big, re­ally big. Think of it like launch­ing a dingy into the Pa­cific. Here are three facts to com­fort you (or not):

6,600 satel­lites have been launched, 3600 re­main in or­bit, 1000 are op­er­a­tional

There are three lev­els of or­bit: lower (where Rock­et­lab's small pay­loads are headed), mid­dle (where GPS satel­lites sit) and geosyn­chronous (the space sta­tion)

At the end of their func­tion­ing lives, satel­lites are ei­ther left to or­bit or shifted to a grave­yard or­bit, higher in space. Only about third ever suc­cess­fully at­tain such a dig­ni­fied end. The rest are clas­si­fied as junk. And yes, space junk has crashed into other satel­lites with dis­as­trous ef­fects.

Source: Wikipedia

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