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Deutsch: Innerer Raum / Español: Espacio interno / Português: Espaço interno / Français: Espace intérieur / Italiano: Spazio interno

In the space industry context, inner space typically refers to the regions of space close to Earth, encompassing Earth's atmosphere and extending out to include near-Earth orbit. This term is often used to distinguish from "outer space," which involves regions beyond the immediate gravitational influence of Earth, including deep space missions to other planets and celestial bodies.


Inner space involves the areas that are most accessible to current human spaceflight and satellite operations. This includes:

  • Earth's Atmosphere: Where weather satellites and some observational platforms are stationed.
  • Low Earth Orbit (LEO): Where the majority of satellites orbit, including the International Space Station (ISS) and many Earth observation satellites.
  • Geostationary Orbit (GEO): A popular orbit for communication satellites, located about 35,786 kilometers (about 22,236 miles) above Earth's equator, where satellites orbit at the same rate as Earth’s rotation.

These regions are critical for a wide range of activities including telecommunications, Earth observation, and scientific experiments conducted on the ISS.

Application Areas

Inner space serves several crucial functions in contemporary space activities:

  • Satellite Communications: Most communication satellites operate within inner space, particularly in GEO, to provide global telecommunications, broadcasting, and data services.
  • Weather Monitoring and Earth Observation: Satellites in various orbits within inner space monitor weather patterns, environmental changes, and other Earth-centric observations crucial for climate science, natural disaster monitoring, and resource management.
  • Human Spaceflight: The ISS orbits within LEO, facilitating human spaceflight missions focused on scientific research, technology development, and international cooperation.

Well-Known Examples

Notable examples of operations in inner space include:

  • International Space Station (ISS): A multi-national collaborative project orbiting in LEO that serves as a space environment research laboratory.
  • Hubble Space Telescope: Located in LEO, it has provided unprecedented views of the universe since its deployment.
  • Geostationary Satellites: Numerous satellites are positioned in GEO for continuous coverage of specific areas on Earth, used for weather forecasting, television broadcasts, and telecommunications.

Treatment and Risks

Activities within inner space face several risks and challenges:

  • Space Debris: LEO, in particular, has a high concentration of space debris, which poses collision risks to satellites and human-crewed missions.
  • Atmospheric Drag: Satellites in lower orbits experience atmospheric drag, requiring periodic boosts to maintain orbit.
  • Regulatory and Traffic Management: As the most accessible and utilized area of space, inner space requires careful coordination and regulation to prevent interference and collisions among the numerous satellites and missions.


Inner space encompasses the vital, close-to-Earth regions where much of today’s space activity takes place. It includes areas crucial for communication, observation, and scientific advancement, making it a central focus of both current space operations and future planning in the aerospace industry.


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