Satellites are tracked by United States Space Surveillance Network ( SSN ) . which has been tracking every object in orbit over 10 centimeters ( 3. 937 inches ) in diameter since it was founded in 1957. There are about 3. 000 orbiters runing in Earth orbit. harmonizing to the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration ( NASA ) . out of approximately 8. 000 semisynthetic objects in entire. In its full history. the SSN has tracked more than 24. 500 infinite objects revolving Earth. The bulk of these have fallen into unstable orbits and incinerated during reentry. The SSN besides keeps path which piece of infinite debris belongs to which state. The SSN was founded in the aftermath of the launch of Sputnik. the first unreal orbiter. by the Soviet Union in October 1957. Orbing the planet at 20. 000 miles per hour ( 32. 186. 88 kilometers per hour ) while breathing a changeless wireless signal. Sputnik was a ruddy flag that told America non to take its technological laterality for granted.
In the undermentioned decennary. the Space Race between the USSR and USA occurred. stoping with Apollo set downing in July 1969. As infinite engineering matured. orbiters were launched for military and commercial intents. The monetary value of orbiter launches has dropped to every bit low as a few million dollars for light orbiters. and a few 10s of 1000000s for heavy orbiters. This put satellite engineering within the range of many states and international companies. Satellites have an operating lifetime between five and 20 old ages.
As of 2008. the former Soviet Union and Russia had about 1. 400 orbiters in orbit. the USA about 1. 000. Japan more than 100. China about 80. France over 40. India more than 30. Germany about 30. the UK and Canada 25. and at least 10 each from Italy. Australia. Indonesia. Brazil. Sweden. Luxembourg. Argentina. Saudi Arabia. and South Korea. The company Sea Launch — a pool of four companies from the United States. Russia. Ukraine and Norway — has launched a few orbiters into orbit from international Waterss every twelvemonth. although the company filed for bankruptcy in 2009. The largest semisynthetic orbiter presently in orbit around the Earth is the International Space Station. Some orbiters. called microsats. nanosats. or picosats. can be every bit little as 10 centimeter ( 3. 937 inches ) in diameter and 0. 1 kilogram ( 0. 22 lbs ) in mass.