satellites


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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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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Record Number of Satellites in Orbit

, senior scientist

An updated version of the UCS Satellite Database has been posted. Including launches and deactivations through November 30, 2018, the Database includes information on about 1,957 active satellites. That is 71 more than our previous release last July. Read more >

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24 Space-Based Missile Defense Satellites Cannot Defend Against ICBMs

, former co-director

UPDATE: In September 2018, UCS released an animated feature and video that explains how space-based missile defense works. Check it out here.

Articles citing a classified 2011 report by the Institute for Defense Analysis (IDA) have mistakenly suggested the report finds that a constellation of only 24 satellites can be used for space-based boost-phase missile defense. Read More

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More Comments on the IDA Boost-Phase Missile Defense Study

, former co-director

Part 1 of this post discusses one aspect of the 2011 letter from Missile Defense Agency (MDA) to then-Senator Kyl about the IDA study of space-based missile defense. The letter raises several additional issues, which I comment on here. Read more >

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