Using data from from NORAD, I made an interactive model of all active satellites in orbit. [OC]

  1. One thing to note is the scale is off here. They are much more visible than they would normally be. They look like they are tightly passing each other but in reality they are really far apart.

  2. Keep in mind, the satellites aren’t nearly as big as the dots in this visualization. This makes it look overly crowded in comparison to reality.

  3. Is that the right link for the app? It shows the solar system when I click Launch, but when I zoom in on Earth there doesn't seem to be anything around it besides the Moon...

  4. Even though they are points, do you have a reference as to how big they are in comparison to real life objects? I'm guessing they are the size of a decently big city?

  5. Before launching a satellite, do they need to calculate the trajectory in accordance with the 4000 other satellite's trajectories to avoid collisions? Or do they just rely on odds; that since the satellite are small compared to all the open space that they will unlikely ever collide?

  6. I'm stationed at a Space Tracking Station, we have a similar model in our mission brief, wish I had access to it right now but i'm deployed for another 9 months... We have locations scattered around the world so we can be in contact with them at all times.

  7. The outer ring you see are our geosynchronous satellites, they are positioned in such a way that their orbital period matches the rotational period of the earth so they always hover over the same location. I am planning on building an antenna to collect data from them this summer. Data is beamed back down to the earth so anyone can use it.

  8. Just to add to the other responses, the handful of satellites between the cloud of objects in low orbit and the ring of geosynchronous sats are mostly geolocation systems like GPS and Galileo. They have 12 hour orbits, half way between LEO and GEO, and there's a hundred or so such satellites these days.

  9. Different satellites need to be at different "altitudes". Some satellites circle the earth, thus need to orbit "lower". Others are geostationary (they only ever "see" a fixed portion of the planet), and orbit much farther out.

  10. If these dots were "to scale" they would be invisible. The distance between these is actually a lot more than whats represented here

  11. Geosynchronous*; geostationary is a subset of that orbit. If you were to look at the ground track (i.e., where the satellites "travel" relative to the closest point on earth), geosynchronous satellites would have a figure 8 ground track due to differences in inclination relative to Earth while geostationary would be very close to a dot instead.

  12. What is the scale you have shown the satellites in yiur model? How big are these satellites at the scale shown in your figure?

  13. It would be impossible to represent the whole earth and satellites together in scale. Same way the whole solar system can't be represented in scale in a pic, otherwise you would see light source in the middle and nothing around it because planets would be too small to be visible.

  14. I'm just using a point cloud with a 3x3 pixel dot at each vertices, so not to scale but also cant measure the scale either.

  15. This is a valid point and an aspect that I think should always be highlighted when data concerning this issue is produced, particularly in this format. Over the past few years, it seems a number of people (understandably) see information like this and infer that it's a 1:1 representation of what the situation actually is.

  16. To me this is extremely wholesome. We as a species are advancing technologically and this is just one example of us gaining control over our environment.

  17. Its wholesome enough. Before anything else, I do agree that overcrowding of orbits and space trash is a major concern, but graphics like this don't help matters. Each dot you see there is equivalent to the size of an entire city down on earth. We have a long way to go before we face space traffic issues.

  18. Who makes these space rules. Couldn’t countries that don’t care for others just do as they please? I assume that’s already happening.

  19. I know starlink and other such Leo internet providers are concerning astronomers, is there not much concern about clutter from the thousands of satellites they plan to set up?

  20. Satellites are usually pretty small and the earth is unfathomably large, yet it still does very occasionally happen. 2 internet satellites had a near miss the other day, according to the US military, the distance was only about 200ft apart

  21. It seems crowded but there's only 5,000 satellites flying around. That's like having only 5,000 people on Earth and having them try and meet. The distance is astronomical, literally

  22. This is not to scale. Keep that in mind, if you were to randomly travel just straight up, the odds of hitting one of the satellite would be astoundingly small.

  23. This is so incredibly, insanely cool! How mesmerizing. Are those also satellites that are rotating around the Earth in a counter-clockwise manner? They're a bit farther back in the background

  24. if you visit my website, even though i don't have the satellite swarm in the newest version, you will see that every object in the solar system is actually present. including 38 thousand asteroids.

  25. I have seen this. The controls are pretty wonky on that one and I did not like the style so i sought out to do it myself, all I had to do was plug in the NORAD database into my pre existing simulator i made, half an hour of coding later voi - la! satalite sim.

  26. Have you not heard of SpaceX's starlink? They're putting up 60+ satellites every launch and there's now well over 1,000 just for that one product.

  27. Because the satellites in real life are not 20 miles across or something as seen here. If you go up into space you will not find a satellite unless you know where to go.

  28. The size isn’t even close to scale there is way more distance between them than you would see here. Satellites are also monitored in the very rare scenario they do get close

  29. That's a lot of satellites. How possible is it to see them from the ground with a telescope? And have there been instances of satellites crashing into each other?

  30. It's possible, but they're moving quickly across the sky, so can be very difficult to track across the sky with a telescope.

  31. They are extremely tiny compared to the scale of the Earth, and they can also be at different altitudes. Imagine having only thousands of cars driving on the entire surface of Earth and they would be unlikely to collide. In the rare event that satellites may pass close to each other, most active satellites have the ability to manoeuvre to avoid collision.

  32. And of course people are losing their minds because they do not realize the dots are not to scale and that the satellites are actually many many times smaller.

  33. You built a web app to visualize an entire solar system before finishing high school? Super impressive, what are you going to major in?

  34. That's geosynchronous orbit. That's where a bunch of communication satellites and the like live, it lets them follow 1 side of the earth constantly.

  35. It looks like collisions should be frequent but I imagine the scale is off so they are much smaller IRL

  36. Except those dots, or pixels, are still waaaay waaay bigger than the actual satellites, so it looks way more busy than it actually is.

  37. I would love to see a scaled up version of the size of satellites and speed on the surface of earth, or the ocean. This would let us better understand how they do not collide in space.

  38. Outer ring is so fascinating! Thank you OP for putting in the work to share this with us, you got a lot of minds moving and that's always a good thing!

  39. Nice for demonstrating a quantity, but misleading on scale because your model satellites are the size of major cities. It would be like making a model to demonstrate the number of microorganisms in a glass of pond water and making each organism the size of a softball.

  40. We were just camping last week and we saw star link for the first time- and I gotta say- I am not a fan.

  41. So how the heck are they even able to avoid all of those when launching to ISS and/or Moon/Mars?!!!

  42. Those are at that specific height because their orbital period matches the rotation time of the Earth. That way, they can look at one part of the planet forever without passing by. That's where TV satellites go, for example.

  43. This is incredible! 👏 Just from your creation and seeing some of your comments you must be an amazing human being as well. I had a little trouble using the interface on my android, but I'm going to save the post so I can try on my pc. Is this like a life-long project? It looks like it had to take a lot of work.

  44. A lot of comments here are focused on what's displayed, which is active satellites, but keep in mind the vast majority of what's up in space is debris, with over 14000 objects that's larger than 10cm, hundreds of thousands between 1-10cm, and millions under 1cm. They may be tiny, but they're traveling at up to 28000km/h in LEO. Each conjunction between two objects will cause far more objects, which will then increase the risk of further conjunctions, which will then...

  45. The satellites are extremely small compared to the space they are occupying. It would be like hitting a moving fly with a dart from across the room.

  46. The satellites are extremely small compared to the space they are occupying. It would be like hitting a moving fly with a dart from across the room.

  47. How do the satellites maintain distance from the earth since there is 0 gravity and earth moves all the time?

  48. Great question. As the other person said, the satellites are still subject to Earth’s gravity. The cool part is that they’re actually in free fall! Think of throwing a ball. It follows an arc since Earth’s gravity pulls it back in. Throw it harder (higher velocity) and it goes further before it hits the ground. Now imagine you keep throwing it harder and it keeps flying farther, until it’s flying over the horizon. If you can throw the ball fast enough, it will be falling towards the Earth but always missing it! That’s what an orbit is.

  49. I don't understand how rockets don't hit one of these! The layer looks almost impenetrable given the thousands of satellites up there!

  50. If you randomly select a location on earth, the odds of there being a person are incredibly low and that's with 7 billion people. This is just 5000 satellites. If you pick a random location in orbit the odds of there being a satellite are insanely small.

  51. What scale are the dots that represent the satellites? The dots are at least a few thousand times larger for visibility. It makes it look very crowded in space.

  52. It may be too late to post a question but I’ll try anyway. Is the accumulation due too more materials being placed into space than those falling into the atmosphere? I know the atmosphere fluctuates causing drag, so why doesn’t more space debris fall out and burn up?

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