UCS Satellite Database

 4-1-10 Satellite Database Downloads
Includes launches through 4/1/10
Changes to the database (pdf) Quick Guide to Using the Database (pdf)
Quick Facts and Analysis (pdf) User's manual (pdf)
Common misconceptions (pdf)  


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 The UCS Satellite Database is a listing of the more than 900 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 provided, as well, 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.  The database is updated roughly quarterly.  It includes basic information about the satellites and their orbits, but does not contain the detailed information necessary to locate individual satellites.

The UCS Satellite Database is the only free, comprehensive compilation of active satellites in an easy to manipulate, commonly-used database format. Users can find information about a particular satellite; identify sets of satellites having a common characteristic, such as altitude or mission; and sort or aggregate data about the whole population of satellites. 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?

For example, the database allows a user to determine the relative numbers of military and non-military satellites operated by the United States and other countries, as is illustrated in the figure below.

 Based on data from 1-21-09 database

Or, the user can determine at what altitudes most satellites orbit:

Based on data from 1-21-09 database

The database contains 24 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 what the satellite is used for, and who owns, operates, and built the satellite.

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

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