I was wondering if there are any spacecraft that is ping-able, not necessarily straight through the internet? It would be a fascinating test to run "ping url/ip" and see the response time to space.

Or, that there is some dashboard or site that shows the response time to a satellite.

I tried to search here and on search engines but got no relevant answers.


3 Answers 3


The short answer, is yes, there are spacecraft you can "ping" (or do a non TCP/IP equivalent).

For two-way communications, implied by your desire to "ping" you should look at the amateur radio satellites. Many of these serve as packet repeaters. You need to be a licensed amateur radio operator, and have the right equipment, or course. A two-way UHF/VHF amateur station probably runs you in the \$5k to \$10k range. Of course, not all amateur satellites use UHF or VHF. For the ultimate satellite "ping" using an amateur radio station you can also bounce a signal off the moon.

One of the best known amateur satellites is AO-7. Satellite became non-operational in 1981 due to a battery failure, and then in 2002 came back to live as the battery went from a short to an open circuit. When active in sunlight (since it has no batteries) it has two repeater modes that are available to the public.

If a two-way station sounds too complicated, there are plenty of satellites that you can listen to with a simpler downlink-only station. SatNOGS is a particularly popular open-source network of ground stations, and their web site has great tutorials for getting started. You can even download images from US government weather satellites. This tutorial shows how it can be done with a software define radio and hand held antennas (investment < \$200)

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    $\begingroup$ But the questioner wrote : " It would be a fascinating test to run "ping url/ip" So he asked for a ping over the internet using an url and an ip. $\endgroup$
    – Uwe
    Commented Aug 18, 2020 at 17:24
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    $\begingroup$ AR stackexchange might disagree with your quote of a couple of thousand: ham.stackexchange.com/questions/16565/equipment-pricing is talking about hundreds, not thousand. $\endgroup$ Commented Aug 18, 2020 at 20:28
  • $\begingroup$ @user1937198 - Apples and Oranges. That thread is for some basic gear to get started in the Ham hobby. Not for two-way satellite communications. A good multi-band radio for satellite can run you north of $1000, although SDRs are bringing prices down. Antennas, rotors, preamps, LNAs, etc will quickly add up. $\endgroup$
    – Carlos N
    Commented Aug 18, 2020 at 23:26
  • $\begingroup$ @Carlos N depends on your definition of satallite, and communications. It explicitly mentions pinging the ISS as something that is unreliable but possible with basic gear. $\endgroup$ Commented Aug 19, 2020 at 9:06

Some space satellites can be pinged with a laser. These satellites are equipped with laser corner reflectors(Proba-V (EKA), Sentinel-3 etc):

enter image description here

Several satellites are laser reflectors:




To ping a satellite you need a laser and a telescope. enter image description here


That's no spacecraft... it's a Moon!

Mirrors left on the Moon can measurably reflect lasers shone at it here from Earth, showing the response time to space, specifically to the Moon.


Is pinging the Moon with a laser as shown on "The Big Bang Theory" possible?


Not really an answer to the question as asked, but might scratch the same itch.


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