This chart shows the countries with the most satellites in space as well as their most common uses.
On Tuesday, February 19, U.S. President Donald Trump signed an order calling on the Department of Defense to draft legislation on a potential U.S. military presence in space. Proposals for a so-called space force have been around for a while but gained momentum when Trump picked up on the idea in early 2018.
Now, a group of scientists has called on the president to reconsider his plans and warm up to the idea of space as a place where different nations coexist peacefully. The Union of Concerned Scientists, a science advocacy group with an extensive satellite database, pointed out that military activity was only a minor part of all things happening in space. Instead, the group claimed that space was in fact a place where people worked together beyond national interests.
The UCS Satellite Database contains 26 types of data for each satellite, including technical information about each satellite (mass, power, launch date, expected lifetime) and its orbit (apogee, perigee, inclination, and period), as well as information on what the satellite is used for, and who owns, operates, and built the satellite.
India is shaping up to become a bigger player in the modern race for space – which is all about satellites and their various uses.
In the past ten years, an increasing number of foreign satellites have been propelled from Indian rocket launch sites. September 16 saw the latest launch from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in the state of Andhra Pradesh. An Indian-built rocket carried two commercial satellites for British company Surrey Satellite Technologies into space, which will provide services like forest mapping, ice cover mapping or disaster monitoring.
Topping the list for the most launches from India are US firms, which have sent 143 satellites into orbit between 2008 and 2018. Companies from Canada, the UK, Germany and Singapore are also among the most regular customers, even though they did not launch nearly as many satellites in the same time frame. Part of the reason for this is the increased launching of US micro satellites during 2017. For example, an Indian rocket carried 88 American satellites into space on February 15, 2017, which weighed only 4.7 kilograms each. These small satellites are able to provide very detailed Earth imagery.
The massive launch also contributed to 2017 being the year with the most satellites launched from India up to date. With demand for satellites growing and more industries ready to move into space, The Indian Space Organization is already looking to partner with private players to expand its launch capacity.