UCS Satellite Database

1/1/16 Satellite Database Downloads (includes launches through 12/31/15)
 Changes to the database (pdf)  Quick Guide to Using the Database (pdf)
 Common misconceptions (pdf)  User's manual (pdf)
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Assembled by experts at the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), the Satellite Database is a listing of the more than 1000 operational satellites currently in orbit around Earth.

Our intent in producing the database is to create a research tool for specialists and non-specialists alike by collecting open-source information on operational satellites and presenting it in a format that can be easily manipulated for research and analysis.

It is available as both a downloadable Excel file and in a tab-delimited text format. A version is also provided in which the "Name" column contains only the official name of the satellite in the case of government and military satellites, and the most commonly used name in the case of commercial and civil satellites.

Who has satellites? Then and now

The database is updated roughly quarterly (sign up for notifications in the sidebar to the right). The database contains 26 types of data for each satellite, including technical information about each satellite (mass, power, launch date, expected lifetime) and its orbit (apogee, perigee, inclination, and period), as well as information on what the satellite is used for, and who owns, operates, and built the satellite.

Satellite Quick Facts (includes launches through 12/31/15)
Total number of operating satellites: 1,381
United States: 568 Russia: 133 China: 177 Other: 503
LEO: 759 MEO: 92 Elliptical: 37 GEO: 493
Total number of U.S. satellites: 568
Civil: 15 Commercial: 273 Government: 131 Military: 149

Users can answer questions such as:

  • How many satellites does a given country have in orbit, and what are they used for?
  • How many satellites are used for military purposes versus commercial purposes?
  • Which countries have earth-observing satellites?
  • When was the oldest working satellite launched?
  • At what altitudes do most satellites orbit?
  • What activities are most satellites involved with?

We welcome corrections, additions, and suggestions. These can be emailed to the database manager at SatelliteData@ucsusa.org

Last revised date: February 25, 2016

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