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Fascinating interactive animation shows more than 3,500 active Starlink satellites orbiting Earth

Published May 17th, 2023 5:02PM EDT
satelittes in orbit around Earth
Image: nana / Adobe

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A new interactive animation showcases just how many Starlink satellites are in orbit and how spread out they are. The interactive animation can be found online, and in it, you can see both the Starlink satellites that are orbiting Earth, as well as OneWeb satellites and GPS satellites. It’s an intriguing look at just how vastly covered our planet is by satellites.

According to the website, Starlink has well over 3,500 satellites in orbit, and that number isn’t expected to stop growing anytime soon as Elon Musk’s SpaceX continues to throw more satellites into orbit. The goal here, of course, is to provide wide swaths of coverage for the internet service, which has already shown a good bit of success since its launch in 2022.

SpaceX Launches Starlink Satellites From Florida, US - 04 May 2021
A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket heads for orbit after lifting off from pad 39A at the Kennedy Space Center carrying the 26th batch of 60 satellites as part of SpaceX’s Starlink broadband internet network. Image source:

In fact, Starlink recently launched an additional 50+ satellites into orbit, creating a train of lights over northern California that baffled many. With so many satellites in orbit, you might find yourself wondering whether or not Starlink’s continued filling of Earth’s orbit is a problem.

Fortunately, experts say that we have a lot of space to fill around Earth when it comes to satellites. So, while it might be a problem one day, right now, it isn’t a problem at all. However, the problem lies in how much space debris these kinds of satellites can create if something goes wrong or if they are retired and don’t have any way to control them as they continue their orbits.

Still, it’s hard not to be in awe of the sheer number of Starlink satellites around our planet. Of course, this number could be outdated, as the website isn’t affiliated with SpaceX or Starlink, so it’s based purely on knowledge gleaned from the various launches that Starlink has pulled off.

With SpaceX continuing to push the boundaries of what it is doing with space-based operations, it will be intriguing to see how far Starlink goes with its satellite coverage.

Josh Hawkins has been writing for over a decade, covering science, gaming, and tech culture. He also is a top-rated product reviewer with experience in extensively researched product comparisons, headphones, and gaming devices.

Whenever he isn’t busy writing about tech or gadgets, he can usually be found enjoying a new world in a video game, or tinkering with something on his computer.