Spectacular space map shows 14,000 satellites orbiting Earth

Richie Carmichael / ESRI
Since Sputnik 1 captured the world’s imagination in 1957, thousands of artificial satellites have followed suit in orbiting Earth. Now a software designer’s ingenious map documents how man-made objects there are in space, and how many actually work.
© Richie Carmichael / ESRI

The visual map produced by Richie Carmichael, who’s based in California, show there are a total of 14,022 satellites orbiting planet Earth. However, 76 percent of those no longer work and are just junk traveling through space.

© Richie Carmichael / ESRI

The satellites don’t just orbit our planet in a regular circle; they have all sorts of strange trajectories, as they pass by, while it gives the viewer a whole new idea about just how crowded space actually is.

© Richie Carmichael / ESRI

Russian satellites make up a hefty number of those artificial objects flying around the earth in space. They can be made out as the red dots in the graphic above.

© Richie Carmichael / ESRI