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About 4,600 launches have been made since the first launch of Earth's man-made satellite in 1957. Nowadays, there are about 6,000 artificial satellites orbiting the planet.
About 800 satellites are currently functioning of the total number of 5,600
A 1999 study estimated there are some 4 million pounds of space junk in low-Earth orbit, just one part of a celestial sea of roughly 110,000 objects larger than 1 centimeter -- each big enough to damage a satellite or space-based telescope
As of June 21 2000, the agency counted 8,927 man-made objects in the great above and beyond; some are there more or less permanently. Of the total, 2,671 are satellites (working or not), 90 are space probes that have been launched out of Earth orbit, and 6096 are mere chunks of debris zooming around the third planet from the Sun. The United States leads the former Soviet Union in the total quantity of orbital junk, but some companies and other organizations contribute significantly to the count.
Cosmic Clean-Up: Wild Ideas to Sweep Space
Ideas for tidying up space range from the mundane, such as space tethers, to the exotic, such as trash-truck-like craft. Johnson says, however, that none of the proposals are feasible as yet.