When it comes to space launches, one company dominates the competition: SpaceX. The total number of satellites launched by this private American aerospace manufacturer is 4,411 as of 2023. But who else is in the game? Here are the top five satellite providers in terms of launches — and what their goals are for future missions.
In total, SpaceX has launched 2,065 satellites for its Starlink broadband satellite program. The company is far ahead in space launches compared to other companies that are trying to get their own satellites into orbit. For example, Amazon and Google have only launched about 50-100 satellites each so far–and these were just test flights! The first Starlink satellite was launched by SpaceX in February 2019 on a Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.
Planet Labs has a total of 152 CubeSats in space as of 2023. The company was founded in 2010 by three engineers who wanted to create a low-cost way of getting satellites into orbit. Their name comes from the idea that each satellite is a “planet” in its own right, orbiting Earth and collecting data about our planet’s surface. Their first satellite was launched in 2013; since then they’ve sent more than 100 more into space–and their fleet continues to grow!
Spire Global has 116 small satellites currently in orbit around Earth. They also have a total of 152 CubeSats in space as of 2023.
Swarm Technologies is a startup based in San Francisco. Their first satellites were launched in 2019, and they plan to launch more satellites in 2020 and 2021. They have 117 CubeSats in orbit as of 2023.
SpaceX is leading the way in terms of satellite launches, but it’s not the only company that has satellites in orbit. Planet Labs, Spire Global, and Swarm Technologies are all working hard to bring us closer to a world where internet access is available everywhere on Earth (and beyond). With so many companies involved in this industry, it will be interesting to see how things play out over time!