Over the course of the 3 Stargate shows, and several movies, we've seen a pretty large number of people working in the Stargate program. We've seen:

  • SG teams at SGC
  • Numerous scientists working on alien tech
  • Administrators
  • Members of the IOA
  • The NID

Roughly how many people would know about the Stargate given the scale of the SG program and associated programs as depicted in the shows and movies?

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    42 – Xantec Apr 6 '11 at 21:28
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    The only way really of getting a fix on this is to review each episode and do a head count... and then you still won't account for everyone as there will be a lot of off-screen people who would have to know. I'd start a lowball at 10,000, though. – HorusKol Apr 7 '11 at 3:50
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    @HorusKol: No, you can use back of the envelope estimates to get a range. See my answer for a (long) example. – Jeff Apr 7 '11 at 15:58
  • I would just note, that knowing about the Stargate and knowing what it is are two different things. And the number of people that know what Stargate is would be relatively low, when compared to people that know about its existence. – Let_Me_Be Apr 11 '11 at 20:44
  • With or without us? :) – pichoscosama Apr 12 '11 at 1:15

Of course, all the answers that have been posted thusfar are FAR too low. I'd say it's on the order of billions, given the sheer number of people in the Milky Way Galaxy (not to mention Pegasus, where non-slave humans regularly use gate travel).

I think that if we're restricting it to Earth, Pearson is on the right track.

However, I think that's a very, very conservative estimate. Firstly, 4 seems to be a fairly low number for an SG-team. SG-1 is a light recon team, not geared up for assault (though they do also do special forces work when called for). Most other teams seen in the show tend to be a minimum of 6 people, though SG-3 (marines, in a security or fire support role typically) tends towards 8-10 men. I'd peg the average SG team size at 7.

I think the number of personnel at Cheyenne is low by an order of magnitude: 100 people for an entire military base, comprised of everything from janitors to network support staff to guards? 100 people MIGHT do for a single shift, but I'd say the total number of personnel at any given time would trend more towards 500-750.

Most of the rest of Pearson's numbers also seem to be extremely lowballed. We saw an entire wing of F-302s at the Antarctica battle. They had to be constructed, maintained, prepped, controlled by ground sources, and flown. Right there there's at least a hundred non-SGC Air Force personnel, not counting backups or other shifts.

Then there's the humans who've used the gate (from Earth) who weren't protagonists. At least 30 people from NID black ops knew the whole story, God alone knows how many were involved with the Russian gate program, etc.

Essentially, you have to account for at least 7 full military bases full of people (SGC, Antarctica base, Area 51, two 'permanant' off-world bases, and a minimum of two construction/basing facilities for F-302/303s) and most likely more. Each of those bases will need between dozens to hundreds of specialists plus security personnel.

Given all of this, I'd assume that there are at least 3,500 Air Force or retired Air Force personnel who know a significant part of the whole story. Then, adding in civilian oversight (and the leaks that are always involved in modern government) and manufacturing personnel (US) I'd peg the 'significant knowledge' number at 5,000.

Other countries involved in the oversight wouldn't have as many personnel, but the sheer scale would have to take the number up to close to 5,750.

Next we must consider Atlantis. I'd peg the number of people in the series launch at about 75. At least one of them got permission for a significant other to be informed. This indicates there may have been others. Let's round to 80 to account for that. Assuming a low failure rate when prepping for the mission, we can take this to 100. We can cut the Atlantis number off there (as of what I saw, to mid-season 2 or early season 3).

I have no knowledge of SGU, so I must assume Pearson's guess of 100 is accurate.

This gets us up to ~6,000.

So there are about 6,000 active and retired people who know about the gate in general terms, or at least that humanity is actively exploring the galaxy and has encountered hostile races.

Next, we must consider the SGC's training program. As we see in one SG1 episode, there is a large pool of SG personnel who aren't active on a team (trainees who have passed, but not yet been assigned). This pool is likely tapped when an SG team suffers casualties or other personnel losses, when a team member takes leave, or when new teams are created. I don't think a pool of 25 is unreasonable to assume.

For each member of that pool, there are doubtless several who were NOT up to snuff - the SGC is an elite command, accepting only the best of the best. For many elite groups, especially those which feature very stressful purposes or require unique skillsets, a 25% pass rate is considered good. So we can assume that for every person who enters the pool, 3 people don't (but get far enough in training before washing out to have a good idea what they were being tested for).

This pool has been drained and refilled constantly as the series has progressed.

Therefore, I would put the absolute minimum number of people with some knowledge of the Stargate Program at approximately 7,000. My confidence in this number is roughly 80%. To approach 100% confidence, we must drop the minimum to 6,250.

So a minimum of 6,250 to 7,000.

Given that there are now 5 ships, including 2 Chinese (? I believe, from Universe?) this estimate needs to be revised upwards.

Given the personnel requirements we've seen on the ships on SG-1 (which I estimate to be approximately 250, given 16 F-302s each, to account for observed crew, required support crew, security forces, etc) and the required Chinese facilities, I estimate the total must reach at least 8,500 - 11,000. The actual total may be much higher, as we don't know how many other countries are following China in developing their own 304s, or how many people China actually involves in their 304 construction process.

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    omg long response :) – Sinan Apr 7 '11 at 15:21
  • Remember that not all of the millitary personnel at the base need to be cleared on the stargate. We know that there is a desk at some point where people beyond must be cleared for the program. But a lot of the base functions could be handled without the need for being in that cleared area. Also, I suspect there's few janitors that are cleared for the full details, but they might know something. But, I'll give you this much, my numbers are a bit too low... – PearsonArtPhoto Apr 7 '11 at 15:34
  • I'm aware of that, but the base does have several floors (at least 5-7) dedicated to the Stargate program, and it has on several occasions endangered the entire Cheyenne complex. I'm sure that most people will keep quiet, but the people above sub-level whatever will pick up a lot of information by osmosis. Regardless, I was only accounting for the actual SGC personnel in paragraph 4. – Jeff Apr 7 '11 at 15:57
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    It doesn't make a huge difference at the scale you've accounted for, but you didn't mention the BC-303 and BC-304 crews. There's about 200 people per 304, and five known active ships. It also implies there's a large Chinese program similar in scale to the Russian one. – user1030 Apr 8 '11 at 12:05
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    @JorgeCórdoba: Those are taken into account. The Alpha and Beta sites are included in paragraph 7 or 8 ("two off-world bases"). – Jeff Apr 14 '15 at 13:49

I don't have an exact number, so here's some stabs.

There are approximately 20 SG teams. Assuming 8 to a team, that means 160. Add in other staff that would have to know, and assume that SGC has around 200 people in it at any one time, maybe more. I'm guessing that over the 10-15 years of SCG, there's been at least a 50% turnover, bringing the number to around 400.

Also, there are usually around 2 starships at any one time (I know there's been more in the past, but they come piece-mealed). I'm sure every one of them knows about the stargates. Let's say that at a minimum, there's 150 people who know from the ships crew and maintenance staff, as well as the final assemblers, so there's another 300.

There's the Antartica base, as well as several fighter pilot bases flying spaceships. I'm going to guess they all know, and that the number is around 200 for these people. I suspect that not all of the builders of the F 302's actually know what the ship is capable of, as well as the maintenance crew. They might just suspect it's a secret spy plane or something.

We have at least 2 off-world bases in the Milky Way. At 50 people a piece, that's another 100.

There are many scientists, at Area 51 and others. I'm gathering that's in the 100.

I'm guessing there's at least 100 Engineers involved as well.

The crew of Atlantis was around 100, over the total length of time.

The crew of Destiny was around 50. There are several families of Destiny's crew who know the story, so let's just double the Destiny count.

There must be at least 50 administrators who know about the program, congressmen, presidents, generals, etc.

There seem to be at least 200 marines that act occasionally without being a full time staff of the stargates.

The IOA and international knowledge consists of at least 400 people, minimum. From Russia alone, I gather there's at least 200.

Even people who don't know the full secret know parts of it. I'm guessing that for every one that knows the full thing, there are at least 4 that know significant parts of it. Just to include a few people in this group:

  • Builders of specific parts of the ships
  • Some research was outsourced, without revealing the source
  • I doubt the F-302 maintenance crew knows the whole story, but they might suspect something.
  • Many congress people probably know good parts, but not the whole details.
  • People work in the upper floors of SGC. They probably have no idea what's so important that happens downstairs, but they know something is going on.
  • There's probably some people in the cleared zone of SGC who don't know the whole story, maybe they aren't cleared for the gate room. Examples could include janitors, the cooking staff, etc.
  • It's clear that there's a fair number of Air Force personnel are aware of at least some details of the Stargate program. These people seek to be on the elite team. Still, I doubt most of them know the specific details as to everything.

Adding in all of that, that's 2000 people who know the whole story, and another 8000 or so who know a good part of it.

  • Actually there are 6 starships. Also there had to be people who build starships. :) – user1027 Apr 7 '11 at 2:38
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    There seemed to be a lot more than 50 people who went to Atlantis - I'd have said closer to a couple of hundred went there. Plus, there was the entire company of marines (120-150 nominal strength) at the end of season 1. – HorusKol Apr 7 '11 at 3:49
  • @Keen: The people who built the starships tend to fall under those who know a good part of the secret. Only the final assemblers would know the whole story. – PearsonArtPhoto Apr 7 '11 at 4:16
  • @HorusKol: I'll revise my estimates accordingly. – PearsonArtPhoto Apr 7 '11 at 4:17
  • There's probably an even larger number who "know something is up" and can even connect it to words like Goa'uld or Atlantis without knowing if these are codewords. But there's got to be a fairly high floor to what those "in" the program know, even as janitors. Not all the details of galactic politics or ongoing operations but even top secrete bases have scuttlebutt. Do you think the kitchen crew on Icarus didn't know they were on a different planet? Kinda narrows down what the Stargate does, lol! – John LA Aug 27 at 0:28

Just thinking season 1....

  • 20 SG teams, at about 8 each: 160
  • Support staff for same: using traditional numbers, 8:1 ratio, 1260 or so. That's just the base. (and about right for a secret-function appendix to Cheyenne Mountain AFB)
  • DOD & USAF Black Budget committees: another 100.
  • Another dozen non-protagonist, non-SGC personel with various reasons.
  • Senators and Congressmen: probably 2 dozen more, and their leaks...

1600-2000 during first season know about SGC. Almost all of whom are aware of the Gate.

By the time of final season, it's at least 10x that, due to several 1000 man bases, etc.

Thing is, a lot of those people won't know about the gate itself, but will know about SGC. Only 2 mop-men need to know about the gate. The rest know the base, but don't do the gate room and it's immediate surrounds. Maybe 1 in 10 of those actually know what's going on... After landing the City, hell, hundreds of thousands get a clue... but get labeled conspiracy nuts.


I'm not sure about the number but it seems that number is not limited by scientists and administrators. After the episode with Russian SG team. US and Russia reveal the existence of the Stargate Program to the permanent members of the UN and some more countries. After this IOA is formed.

So I would guess the number is in hundreds possibly more.

  • Ah crap, forgot about the IOA. Editing the question. – user1027 Apr 6 '11 at 23:03

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