64 satellites in one mission.
That's what Spaceton's air space company SpaceX plans to launch in South African billionaire Ellon Musk on Sunday after several reprogramming.
It's a historic launch, from the Falcon 9 rocket will take the largest number of satellites in a mission that will fly from the United States.
The 64 satellites that share the launch They come from 34 different organizations from 17 different countries.
The devices have different sizes and will fulfill various functions, from improving communications with the Internet to piracy in the sea.
But have you wondered how many satellites there are in space? Can anyone send them? And can they bump one another?
How many satellites are there?
If it were to hit the number of artificial satellites that spin around the Earth, what would they say? Hundreds, thousands?
According to the Index of Objects Launched in Space, prepared by the United Nations Office for Space Affairs (in English, UNOOSA), there are 4,921 satellites orbiting in the moment.
But not all are active.
"There are about 2,600 satellites that are no longer working, but are still in orbit, and a total of about 17,000" objects "in space, explains David Barnhart, director of the Center for Space Studies at the University of Southern California, Los Angeles. Angeles, USA.
The specialist refers to space debris orbiting around the Earth and exceeding 7,600 tonnes, according to the National Administration of Aeronautics and Space of the United States in February this year. (NASA, an acronym in English)
"They are all in orbit around the Earth, 100 kilometers above sea level (Earth's low orbit) to 35,000 kilometers (geostationary orbit)," Barnard told BBC World.
What is the size of the satellite?
If you think of a satellite, perhaps the first picture that comes to mind is that of a huge device made of heavy material that weighs tons.
But not all are such.
"Its size varies from one bread basket (for example, tens of centimeters on each side and some pounds in weight) to the school bus (several meters from each side and thousands of pounds), says Barnard, who is devoted to designing satellites.
What is the function of satellite?
Not all satellites are dedicated to observing the Earth and taking pictures.
"The orbit of satellites around the Earth carries out a multitude of functions that involve them communications (cell phone coverage and data transmission), observation from Earth, navigation and positioning (This is the GPS system we use), and the study of space and the planet by science"describes a specialist.
How does satellite stay in orbit?
Satellites can orbit the planet because they are programmed at speeds that are fast enough to overcome gravity.
The rocket transports the satellite into space and, after reaching the determined location, puts the satellite in its orbit.
The speed the satellite achieves while being separated from the rocket is sufficient to keep the device in orbit for hundreds of years, points to the National Service for Environmental Satellites, Data and Information (Nessis, for its acronym in English), which depends on the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Service of the United States.
One satellite remains in orbit due to its velocity and the gravitational force that Earth has on it. The closest to Earth requires greater speed to counter the gravity force, explains Nesdis on its website.
And satellites carry their own fuel supply that is used only in the event of a change in orbit or for avoiding collisions.
So, can the satellites collide?
"Yes, they can collapse, but this does not happen often. Although it may seem that there are many satellites, space is "large" and is usually placed in orbits that do not cross or interfere with each other, "says a specialist at the University of Southern California.
"That does not mean that it has not happened and can not happen, and with plans to install thousands of satellites, the likelihood of a possible collision will increase," he adds.
In February 2009, two cosmic communications, one American and one Russian, clashed in space. It is believed that this is the first time that two artificial satellites collide accidentally, describing the Nessis Center.
Who controls the satellites?
Satellites may be owned by organizations, companies, governments and individuals.
There are many rules for controlling the frequency with which radio communications work in orbit and into which the orbit enters, to avoid interference.
"According to the Space Treaty (1967), each country has some regulatory control of the descent of the satellites specifically to help avoid radio interference and prevent possible collisions during the launch," Barnard told BBC World.
In the United States, for example, private companies must obtain a federal space license license.
If you want to work with a communications satellite, you must seek a license from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) or if you want to start a satellite room, you need a license from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
And globally, the United Nations Office for Foreign Affairs (in English, UNOOSA) is responsible for implementing UN space-related policies, so that acts as a spatial law regulator in the world.
Can anyone send satellite space?
"Yes, today it is possible that almost everyone can send satellites into space. Even high school students have built and started their own satellites that share programs with launch vehicles and various government agencies around the world, "says Barnard.
Commercial companies are launching satellites in space at a rate that has nearly tripled in the past 10 years, with investments reaching billions of dollars.
"It's a very exciting time in the space industry, with many innovations, not just in new satellites, but in the development of industry for "service" satellites that have not existed so far, analyze Barnard.
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