According to today's Raw SATCAT Data from Celestrak, the launch designated 2018-099 (SpaceX, December 2018) still has twelve unidentified payload objects!

Objects D, J, P, T, U, W, X, AV, BA, BD, BE, BS

Object BS even has it's own question: What is “OBJECT BS”? because it lagged behind all of the other objects without any even approximate orbital elements in the satcat.

Almost five months after the launch, how can there still be twelve unidentified payload objects?

I've been watching this as a favor to the asker of Where can I find the TLE of ExseedSat 1, India's first ever private LEO satellite? which may or may not be one of the twelve.

update: Of the twelve objects listed above, the following four have only recently been identified. The rest are still a mystery.

  • 4
    $\begingroup$ Isn't it common that military payloads are often not identified? $\endgroup$
    – GittingGud
    Commented May 7, 2019 at 7:57
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @GittingGud I'm not at liberty to say. $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    Commented May 7, 2019 at 8:17

1 Answer 1


One possibility is that they are unable to distinguish between Object D and Object J, for example, if they are both cubes and the satellite owners are not providing (for whatever reason) telemetry to validate which is which. Might be better to say nothing then guess and be exposed later for being wrong.

Additionaly, apart from optical images from on orbit satellites, whose capabilities could be exposed by using their data publicly, it would be hard to distinguish two cubes.

Note: Not following this launch, but with that many I assume there were cubesats.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Part of the question might then be why are "they are unable to distinguish"? $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    Commented Jun 4, 2019 at 21:42
  • $\begingroup$ You would think they could listen to the satellites and tell from the frequencies they were transmitting on which is which, but... $\endgroup$
    – PearsonArtPhoto
    Commented Aug 5, 2019 at 1:58

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