Special Report

Countries With the Most Satellites in Orbit

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There are 20 countries that have launched at least 14 satellites currently orbiting our planet. But there is one nation that for the time being has orbited the field many times over. (Also see, 20 of the worst disasters in space flight history.)

To Identify the countries that own the most satellites, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed the Satellite Database compiled by the Union of Concerned Scientists, a nonprofit science advocacy organization. We listed the 20 countries with the most satellites in orbit – those owned directly by government agencies and those owned by operators/owners of the satellites based in that country. The database, which includes listings of 5,465 satellites currently in orbit around Earth, was last updated on May 1, 2022. It should be noted that many of the satellites are double counted as they are joint operations and are counted for each country in the operation. 

With 3,449 satellites in orbit, the United States has by far more objects in orbit than any other nation. Most of these have been put into space for uses such as communications, Earth observation, and technology development. 

NASA and American military branches have launched many of these satellites. However, the lion’s share has been put into space by private companies. Congress gave private companies the go-ahead to launch satellites in 1984. 

Elon Musk’s SpaceX, preparing to launch a massive rocket and spacecraft, Starship, possibly by April 17, has launched 2,219 satellites, more than any other entity. Other American companies launching satellites include Iridium Communications, Spire Global, Swarm Technologies, and Planet Labs. (And here are companies profiting the most from war.)

Rapidly-industrializing China has leapfrogged into second place on the country list with 541 satellites launched. The Chinese government had been behind all of the launches, which have been used for Earth observation, navigation/global positioning, commercial, space science and other purposes. The United Kingdom is third with 490 satellites, and Russia, which as part of the Soviet Union brought the world into the Space Age with its launch of Sputnik in 1957, is fourth with 173 satellites.

Click here to see the countries with the most satellites in orbit.

20. Australia
> Satellites: 14
> Australia-based companies/agencies with satellites: 7
> Most common satellite use: Communications
> Company/agency with most satellites: Fleet Space Technologies
> Recent launch vehicle: Falcon 9

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18. Netherlands
> Satellites: 15 — tied
> Netherlands-based companies/agencies with satellites: 7
> Most common satellite use: Communications
> Company/agency with most satellites: Hiber Global
> Recent launch vehicle: Soyuz-2.1b

16. Switzerland
> Satellites: 15 — tied
> Switzerland-based companies/agencies with satellites: 4
> Most common satellite use: Communications
> Company/agency with most satellites: Astrocast
> Recent launch vehicle: Falcon 9

19. Brazil
> Satellites: 17 — tied
> Brazil-based companies/agencies with satellites: 8
> Most common satellite use: Communications
> Company/agency with most satellites: Embratel Star One
> Recent launch vehicle: Ariane 5

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15. South Korea
> Satellites: 17 — tied
> South Korea-based companies/agencies with satellites: 8
> Most common satellite use: Earth observation
> Company/agency with most satellites: Korea Aerospace Research Institute (KARI)
> Recent launch vehicle: Soyuz-2.1a

14. Finland
> Satellites: 18
> Finland-based companies/agencies with satellites: 3
> Most common satellite use: Earth observation
> Company/agency with most satellites: ICEYE Ltd.
> Recent launch vehicle: Falcon 9

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17. Italy
> Satellites: 22
> Italy-based companies/agencies with satellites: 14
> Most common satellite use: Earth observation
> Company/agency with most satellites: Italian Space Agency/Ministry of Defense
> Recent launch vehicle: Falcon 9

12. Spain
> Satellites: 26
> Spain-based companies/agencies with satellites: 15
> Most common satellite use: Communications
> Company/agency with most satellites: Fossa Systems
> Recent launch vehicle: Falcon 9

11. Israel
> Satellites: 28
> Israel-based companies/agencies with satellites: 11
> Most common satellite use: Amateur radio, Earth observation
> Company/agency with most satellites: Herzliya Science Center
> Recent launch vehicle: Falcon 9

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10. Argentina
> Satellites: 35
> Argentina-based companies/agencies with satellites: 6
> Most common satellite use: Earth observation
> Company/agency with most satellites: Satellogic S.A.
> Recent launch vehicle: Falcon 9

13. France
> Satellites: 36
> France-based companies/agencies with satellites: 20
> Most common satellite use: Earth observation
> Company/agency with most satellites: French Defense Ministry
> Recent launch vehicle: Ariane 5

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9. Luxembourg
> Satellites: 42
> Luxembourg-based companies/agencies with satellites: 4
> Most common satellite use: Communications
> Company/agency with most satellites: Kleos Space
> Recent launch vehicle: Falcon 9

8. Germany
> Satellites: 48
> Germany-based companies/agencies with satellites: 18
> Most common satellite use: Technology development
> Company/agency with most satellites: Technical University Berlin
> Recent launch vehicle: Falcon 9

7. Canada
> Satellites: 59
> Canada-based companies/agencies with satellites: 14
> Most common satellite use: Communications
> Company/agency with most satellites: Kepler Communications
> Recent launch vehicle: Falcon 9

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6. India
> Satellites: 63
> India-based companies/agencies with satellites: 13
> Most common satellite use: Earth observation
> Company/agency with most satellites: Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO)
> Recent launch vehicle: PSLV-XL

5. Japan
> Satellites: 97
> Japan-based companies/agencies with satellites: 40
> Most common satellite use: Earth observation
> Company/agency with most satellites: Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA)
> Recent launch vehicle: H2A

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4. Russia
> Satellites: 173
> Russia-based companies/agencies with satellites: 20
> Most common satellite use: Communications
> Company/agency with most satellites: Russia Ministry of Defense
> Recent launch vehicle: Proton

3. United Kingdom
> Satellites: 490
> United Kingdom-based companies/agencies with satellites: 20
> Most common satellite use: Communications
> Company/agency with most satellites: OneWeb Satellites
> Recent launch vehicle: Soyuz 2.1b

2. China
> Satellites: 541
> China-based companies/agencies with satellites: 100
> Most common satellite use: Earth observation
> Company/agency with most satellites: Chinese Ministry of National Defense
> Recent launch vehicle: Long March 4C

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1. United States
> Satellites: 3,449
> United States-based companies/agencies with satellites: 122
> Most common satellite use: Communications
> Company/agency with most satellites: SpaceX
> Recent launch vehicle: Falcon 9

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