According to the Index of Objects
Launched into Outer Space maintained by the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs, there were 7,389 individual satellites orbiting our little planet at the end of April 2021
This number is only set to
increase over time, with some estimates coming in at around 990 satellites being added to the mix every single year.
Time will tell if more effective
strategies can be developed to manage space junk in the future Some of these "dead" spacecraft may still function!
The most famous example of
old spacecraft still in use today are Voyager 1 and 2. By far the farthest-traveled human-made objects ever sent into space
Another of the oldest, sort-of
functional, artificial objects in space is LES-1. Also known as the Lincoln Experimental Satellite 1, it was originally designed as a communications satellite.
LES-5 was built to test
the viability of a satellite-based military communications program and was placed in a geosynchronous orbit.
Another technically functional
piece of "space junk" is the Transit 5B-5 satellite. It was part of the Transit/Navsat navigational satellite program.