Let’s start with a decidedly surprising first figure. In 2021, 1807 objects were launched. This includes satellites, probes, landers, crewed spacecrafts, and space station flight elements launched into Earth orbit or beyond. From 1957 to 2021 this is the highest figure ever. From the U.S. alone, more than 1,200 of the above-mentioned objects were launched in 2021. But what is the annual Number of objects launched into space? And what is the number of people who visited space each year? And what are the strangest objects we have launched?
The first man in the Space
The first man in space? It was Jurij Alekseevič Gagarin. It was April 12, 1961, when around 9 a.m. local time in Moscow the Soviet astronaut aboard Vostok 1 flew into the cosmos. The total time of the mission was 1 hour and 48 minutes. The first flight into space was interpreted around the world as a new beginning of an era for mankind. Before the first mission, in fact, seven spacecraft had been sent by the Soviet Union and only three of them had returned to Earth. Therefore, the probability of staying alive was not certain, quite the contrary. That is also why the first mission in this sense surprised the whole world.
A few months later, on May 5, 1961, Alan Shepard departing from the Mercury-Redstone 3 station in Freedom 7 made the first manned American space flight. The altitude reached, however, 187.4 km, significantly lower than the altitude reached by Vostok 1 of 315 km. Thus in 1961 the challenge between the USSR and the United States also began in space. A total of 4 humans made space flights in 1961. In addition to the already tita Gagarin and Shepard on July 21 it was the turn of Gus Grissom, from the United States, and in August 1961 of German Titov.
From 1961 to 2021, the total number of humans who visited space was 1,294. In total, the United States is the leading nation with 865 total flights while the Soviet Union and then Russia are now at 273. Decidedly more detached to date are the other countries. From Japan 21 men have departed while from France 19. In 2021, the number of humans visiting space has varied by 7. From 1,287 to 1,294. From the United States 3 people left, from Russia 2 and from Japan 1.
The first man on the moon
If 1961 saw the victory of the Soviet Union over the United States, 1969 was the year when the game was brought to 1-1. On July 16, 1969, Apollo 11 carrying Americans Neil Armstrong, Micheal Collins and Buzz Aldrin made the first human moon landing. Neil Armstrong was in fact the first man in the world to put one foot on the Moon. The UTC time was 2:56 a.m. From all over the world millions of people saw and heard the words of the pilot born in Wapakoneta on August 5, 1930.
«That’s one small step for [a] man, but a giant leap for mankind.»
Objects launched in the space
But in addition to humans-we have seen how space travel by humans has decreased over time-to increase over time is the number of objects launched into space. This includes satellites, probes, landers, crewed spacecrafts, and space station flight elements launched into Earth orbit or beyond.
In 2021, the total number of objects launched (according to the characteristics mentioned above) is 1876. Leading the nations with the most objects launched are the United States with 1235 followed by the United Kingdom with 289 and China with 106. Then the top nations also include Japan with 23 launches, Russia with 21 and Canada with 11. Closing the top 15 nations in the world are India and Egypt with 5 and 4 launches respectively.
However, the Space Debris User Portal estimated sending the total number of objects, not just those as satellites. Space Debris User Portal estimates that more than 130 million objects smaller than 1cm have been launched into space. More than 1,000,000 objects between 1cm and 10 cm and more than 36,500 above 10 centimeters were also sent.
Top 10 most unusual objects ever launched into space
But what are the strangest objects that have been sent to the planet?
- Luce Skywalker’s lightsaber;
- Pictures from Playboy magazine;
- New Coke and Pepsi Cans;
- X-ray of a hand;
- A block of cheese;
- A message from Paul McCartney;
- Sound recordings of noises made on earth;
- Lego figurines;
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