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Before the current rush to put tens of thousands of satellites into orbit, there was Sputnik, the first artificial Earth satellite.

The Soviet Union launched it into an elliptical low Earth orbit on October 4, 1957.

It shocked the world, although the United States had their own satellite, Explorer, up in orbit several months later.

Now, nearly 70 years later, SpaceX, Amazon and OneWeb are rushing to put tens of thousands of satellites into orbit.

They say their satellite mega-constellations will make broadband internet goodness available to billions of people around the world who are unserved or underserved — but some say those promises have to be weighed against the potential perils.

These critics cite the risk of catastrophic satellite collisions, concerns about cybersecurity and worries about environmental and health impacts — including impacts on astronomical observations and the beauties of the night sky.

Such concerns are likely to intensify as SpaceX and OneWeb add to their current fleets of satellites in low Earth orbit, and as Amazon gets set to deploy more than 3,200 satellites for its Project Kuiper broadband network.

If all the plans laid out for those ventures come to pass, tens of thousands of satellites could be put into orbit over the next decade.

Anyone remember the Terminator movies and Skynet?

WATCH: Jim On History

 

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