The Space Track APIs give great information about satellites that are currently in orbit. However, I'd like to be able to distinguish between payloads that are still in orbit, but dead, and payloads that are still in orbit and operational.

Is there any way to do this?

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    $\begingroup$ In Celestrak's Satcat, column 22 is used to indicate the SATCAT Operational Status I haven't used Space-Track for a long time, but it seems to me that similar information might be available there. $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    Mar 11, 2023 at 23:14
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    $\begingroup$ @uhoh - I've just been looking at Celestrak's API, and while I can find the data if I look at the SATCAT table, I can't seem to see it in any of the API calls I've tried: celestrak.org/NORAD/elements/… celestrak.org/NORAD/elements/supplemental/… Am I missing here? Unfortunately, when I'm trying to get this data for every object in orbit, it's not much use to have to look them up manually and I'd rather not have to scrape HTML if I can help it $\endgroup$ Mar 12, 2023 at 22:49
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    $\begingroup$ Ahh, I need the Records API, not the elements one... Will update with a full answer later tonight if you don't beat me to it $\endgroup$ Mar 12, 2023 at 22:56
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    $\begingroup$ @uhoh - I think that reads okay as an answer, what do you think? Thanks for the nudge in the right direction! $\endgroup$ Mar 13, 2023 at 3:20
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    $\begingroup$ beautiful! :-) $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    Mar 13, 2023 at 3:50

1 Answer 1


(Many thanks to @Uhoh whose comments sent me off in the right direction)

This data is available on CelesTrak's SATCAT Records API.

Take ZARYA for example: https://celestrak.org/satcat/records.php?CATNR=25544

    "OBJECT_ID": "1998-067A",
    "NORAD_CAT_ID": 25544,
    "OPS_STATUS_CODE": "+",
    "OWNER": "ISS",
    "LAUNCH_DATE": "1998-11-20",
    "DECAY_DATE": "",
    "PERIOD": 92.95,
    "INCLINATION": 51.64,
    "APOGEE": 423,
    "PERIGEE": 415,
    "RCS": 399.0524,

One can see the OPS_STATUS_CODE is +, which indicates an operational object.

The possible status codes are:

Operational Status Descriptions
+ Operational
- Nonoperational
P Partially Operational (Partially fulfilling primary mission or secondary mission(s))
B Backup/Standby (Previously operational satellite put into reserve status)
S Spare (New satellite awaiting full activation)
X Extended Mission
D Decayed
? Unknown

For anyone who wishes to do this programatically, I've just developed a C# SDK for this that you may find useful.


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