Space and Satellites

What’s in space—and how does it affect global security?


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Satellite Database Update: More than 3,300 Active Satellites Orbiting the Earth

, senior scientist

An updated version of the UCS Satellite Database, which includes launches through December 31, 2020, is now available on the UCS website. This update includes the addition to the database of 651 satellites and the removal of 66, for a total of 3,372 active satellites. Commercial satellites continue to take a larger share of space; currently 78% of US satellites are commercially-owned. With this version of the Database, Starlink has more than 900 satellites in orbit, or 26% of the operational satellite population.
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Satellite Database Update: More than 2,600 Active Satellites Orbiting the Earth

, senior scientist

View of IS-901 satellite from Mission Extension Vehicle-1 (MEV-1) during approach from approximately 20 meters with Earth in the background. The MEV successfully docked with the Intelsat 901 satellite on Tuesday, Feb. 25. Northrop Grumman

An updated version of the UCS Satellite Database, which includes launches through March 31, 2020, is now available on the UCS website. This update includes the addition to the database of 486 satellites and the removal of 38, for a total of 2,666 active satellites.

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UCS Satellite Database Update: More than 2,200 Active Satellites

, senior scientist

We have updated the UCS Satellite Database, including launches through September 30, 2019. Lots of movement this time, with 209 satellites added and 53 removed for a total of 2,218 actively working satellites.

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China Rejects Policy of Nuclear Launch on Warning of an Incoming Attack

, China project manager and senior analyst

International and Chinese participants discuss verification technologies at the 16th PIIC Beijing Seminar on International Security in Shenzhen, China. The conference was sponsored by the Chinese Arms Control and Disarmament Association (CACDA), the Program for Science and National Security Studies (PNSS) at China’s Institute of Applied Physics and Computational Mathematics (IAPCM) and the US-based Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI).

Fu Cong, the director general of the Arms Control Department of the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, recently called on all nuclear weapons states to abandon the policy of preparing to launch nuclear weapons on warning of an incoming nuclear attack. He issued the unprecedented official statement in his keynote address to a major international arms control conference held in Shenzhen in mid-October.

Cong also asked nuclear weapons states to take additional steps to diminish the role of nuclear weapons in their national security doctrines, including joining China in publicly committing to never use nuclear weapons first. Read more >

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Some pretty good work by Congress on missile defense this year

, senior scientist

Photo: Eric E Johnson/Creative Commons (Flickr)

The Congressional defense budget process is entering its conclusion, though battles remain. Despite little to show for it, the overall budget for missile defense continues to be robust. For example, the Senate appropriators met last week and added $1.2 billion above the Trump administration’s budget request for missile defense, including an additional $532 million for upgrades and six more boosters for the beleaguered Ground-based Midcourse Defense system, and added $222 million to fund program to replace the recently canceled Redesigned Kill Vehicle program. That is an unfortunate waste of tax dollars.

However, in other areas Congress—in particular the House—made a number of useful and positive corrections to the administration’s $9.4 billion missile defense budget request. The House also put several sensible new missile defense policies in place that deserve support. Read more >

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