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 week, SpaceX deployed another 51 Starlink satellites into orbit.
The majority of these satellites are used for observing Earth or for communications and internet. With a goal of bringing the internet to underserved areas of the globe, two private companies, Starlink by SpaceX and OneWeb together launched almost 1,000 smallsats in 2020 alone. They are each planning to launch more than 40,000 satellites in the coming years to create what are called “mega-constellations” in low-Earth orbit.How many satellites are orbiting Earth? – Japan Today