2015 – Satellite Orbits – Snapshot

According to the Union of Concerned Scientists, a total of 1,381 satellites were still operational at the end of 2015. These satellites are mostly located in low Earth orbit (LEO) between 200 and 2,000 kilometers (124–1,242 miles) of altitude. LEO is home to 759 active satellites, or 55% of the total. This family of orbits remains the main orbital location of satellites due to the wide range of missions it allows and to the low energy required to reach it, which typically results in lower launch costs.

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2015 – Positioning, Navigation, and Timing Systems – Snapshot

The number of positioning, navigation, and timing (PNT) satellites orbiting the Earth increased by 15% from the end of 2014 through 2015. Of the six nations fielding space-based PNT satellites or systems, the biggest contributors to the number of satellites in 2015 were the European Union and China. India continued a steady growth of its PNT constellation, while established…

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2015 – Government Space Budgets – Snapshot

Total global government space budgets in 2015 were $76.516 billion, a 4.8% decrease from $80.415 billion in 2014. More than half of this spending was in the United States, which budgeted $44.567 billion for government space activities in 2015. Government budget levels reflect the most recent budgetary information available for each country, taking into account the fact…

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2015 – Bigelow Space Stations – Snapshot

The Bigelow Expandable Activity Module (BEAM) was launched to the ISS in April 2016. Bigelow Aerospace contracted with NASA to develop BEAM for $17.8 million in 2013. Originally scheduled for launch to the ISS in 2015, BEAM’s ISS arrival was postponed to 2016 after one of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 space launch vehicles disintegrated during launch in June 2015.

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2015 – Positioning, Navigation, and Timing Services – Snapshot

The geolocation and navigation sector makes up the largest portion of commercial space products and services, with estimated 2015 revenues of €74.71 billion (US$83.3 billion), according the European Global Navigation Satellite Systems Agency (GSA). As calculated in euros by GSA, this is 12.0% more than the €66.71 billion (US$91.3 billion) in revenue seen in 2014. Geolocation…

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2015 – Missile Detection Satellites – Snapshot

Missile detection and warning satellites, a type of system first launched into orbit more than forty years ago, are used to monitor potential threats on a global scale. They provide a very high vantage point, using complex systems and technologies to provide notification of possible hostile activities, such as missile launches occurring in areas of interest.

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