By 2020, 114 launches carried around 1,300 satellites to space, surpassing the 1,000 new satellites per year mark for the first time. But no year in the past compares to 2021. As of Sept. 16, roughly 1,400 new satellites have already begun circling the Earth, and that will only increase as the year goes on. Just this month, SpaceX deployed another 51 Starlink satellites into orbit.
Right now, there are nearly 6,000 satellites circling our tiny planet. About 60% of those are defunct satellites—space junk—and roughly 40% are operational.