How far do you think we have come forward in technology or space technology to be precise? I would agree we still have a long way to go and have acheivied very less, imagine an artificial body revolving around the Earth or any other planet in a fixed orbit playing some amazing role in our lives. You might know some awesome facts about satellites but here are some that you might not know about:
1. How many satellites are up there?
As per recent report, there are around 1265 active satellites orbiting the Earth and there are further 2600 satellites that are not active also called “space junk”.
2. Who owns these Satellites?
Most of the satellites orbiting the Earth today are government companies. Countrywise, United States tops the chart by having 528 satellites. Russia and China are next with around 130 active satellites apiece. Of the 528 American satellites, 18 are for civil purposes, 229 are commercial, 160 are for the military, and 121 belong to the government.
3. With so many satellites, how do they avoid crash?
These thousands of satellites orbiting around the Earth may seem like a huge number but Space is very big, even bigger than what you can imagine. Secondly, they always have lots of room to themselves for maneuevring usually around hundreds of miles. However, these satellites have thrusters that help them to stay in their line of orbit and avoid any collision like scenario.
4. Have there been collisions before?
Yes, there have been collisions before and the most worrying part about collision is the amount of debris they produce. An anti-satellite test conducted by China in 2007 created more than 100,000 pieces of space debris, all of which have to be carefully monitored to avoid any mishaps.
5. How fast do these satellites travel?
Since gravity is the vital force behind attracation and the orbit speed, farther the satellite orbit is from Earth, slower its orbitting speed will be. Satellites in LEO move at a minimum of about 17,000 miles per hour which prevents them from being drawn back into the atmosphere. The International Space Station (ISS) is amongst one of them. The other orbit is Geosynchronus orbit which provides orbiting zone for communication satellites. Their speed is around 7000 mph.
6. How much does a satellite cost?
Satellites come in a wide range of prices, none of which you can afford. A small nano satellite could cost you something around 50-150 million USD while the ISS has cost around 150 billion USD whcih includes developmeng, launch and maintenance.
7. How big are these satellites?
Like its cost, the sizes of these satellites vary a lot too. The ISS is about the size of a football field. By contrast, there is a nano-satellite which is only 7.8 inches across and weighs 15.4 lbs.
8. What happens when a satellite falls back to the Earth?
This is a question that troubles the most of us. What if the satellite falling back on Earth hits my roof or my head. Well, for starters, scientists can very accurately predict the latitude at which it is going to fall off. However, one it enters the Earth’s atmosphere, it burns off and gets scattered over a large distance. Now, simple mathematics can prove that the chance of a debris hitting the land is around 30%. So don’t stress yourself out of getting hit on the head.