- Press Release
- August 16, 2022
Teal Survey Counts 600-610 Active Satellites Currently in Orbit
The Teal Group announced today
completion of a new survey identifying between 600-610 satellites in Earth
orbit or in deep space trajectories, during the IAF 52nd International
Astronautical Congress taking place here this week.
Teal analysts conducted the new study as part of the World Space Systems
Briefing service, the 1,400-page, monthly-updated competitive intelligence
service (For more info on this Teal service, contact the sales reps at
The survey factored in all the satellites that have been launched
worldwide since 1980 and, through a combined process of elimination and “bean
counting,” arrived at a total estimate of the number of in-orbit satellites
that remain active.
“What we’ve done is simply take a snapshot of all the spacecraft that we
believe are currently operational, by methodically looking at everything we
know is up there,” said Marco Caceres, Teal Group’s senior space analyst.
“Tracking what is launched is not difficult,” he said, “and we certainly
have a good idea of both the design and probable lifetime of spacecraft —
even ones built by the Russians, the Chinese, and the US military.”
Since Sputnik 1 was launched by the Soviet Union in 1957, approximately
5,070 satellites have been orbited successfully.
Half of these satellites
were launched during 1957-1979.
The other half were launched from 1980
through September 2001.
Some 30 satellites have been launched in the past nine months, including
12 large commercial communications satellites.
There have also been 10 civil
and eight military satellite launches in the same period.
Two-thirds of the satellites that have gone up this year have been
manufactured by US companies.
The rest have been produced by European,
Indian, Russian and Ukrainian firms or agencies.
“In terms of who built most of the satellites that have been launched this
year, there’s no doubt that the Americans continue to dominate the market,”
“European companies such as Alcatel Space Industries and Astrium may be
catching up a bit with regard to new contract awards, but most of the birds
going up lately have been built by Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Loral, and TRW in
California and Orbital Sciences in Virginia.”
The Teal Group is an aerospace and defense consulting firm based in
It provides competitive market intelligence to industry