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Satellites in Low Orbits Are Taking over the Skies

Scientific American May 2020

Earth monitoring and high-speed Internet are driving demand

For a long time the variety of satellites orbiting Earth rose at a delicate tempo, however development has soared just lately. By July 2019 greater than 2,200 satellites had been aloft. In the 1980s and 1990s the motion was in geosynchronous orbit (blues), says Jonathan McDowell, an astrophysicist on the Center for Astrophysics|Harvard & Smithsonian. But now the motion is within the lowest Earth orbits (yellows), he says, and more and more dominated by younger corporations reasonably than authorities, navy or educational house owners. Today the push is from Starlink—constellations of satellites weighing 260 kilograms, being launched by SpaceX to ship high-speed Internet.

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