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Questions tagged [tracking]

Questions regarding systems used to continually locate objects, often radar.

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Can the deactivated satellites also be tracked through TLE?

TLE is used to track whether the satellites are in orbit or not. However, is it possible that a particular satellite is deactivated, decommissioned or deorbited yet its TLE is being updated regularly?
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1answer
56 views

Need help identifying this (likely to be) phased array antenna used to track launches

I need help identifying the (what I believe to be) flat (and possibly phased) array antenna shown next to the tracking telescope in this photo, which can be found both here and here where the ...
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1answer
78 views

What is this combination tracking telescope and helical antenna pair? was it really used, and who is/was FlightLine?

I spotted the image below here which I found here (also seen here). Zooming in on this combination pair of telescope trackers and pair of RHCP and LHCP (right- and left-handed circular polarization) ...
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0answers
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How was “toolbag-sat” imaged in space? (from Scott Manley's video)

In Scott Manley's video Could An Astronaut Throw Something From Orbit To Earth? at about 02:00 he includes a sequence of images that shows the famous tool bag that ...
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2answers
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Are commercial communications satellites in GEO being constantly monitored by telescopes?

I was trying to look up GOES-17 in Spaceflight101 but got sidetracked in the search result and ended up reading this thread about AMC-9, which links to the YouTube video Rough cut video of AMC-9 ...
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1answer
188 views

What just happened? What does this satellite breakup announcement mean? What does it suggest?

I logged into Space-Track and immediately saw this message: The 18th Space Control Squadron has confirmed the breakup of SL-12 R/B(AUX MOTOR), #36407. The time of breakup was at approximately 0206z,...
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4answers
4k views

Is there a satellite that tracks other satellites?

Is there a satellite that tracks other satellites, or is tracking always done from ground stations? Ground stations can only see a small part of the sky, so a network of stations would be needed. A ...
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Are there publicly-available non-amateur sources of TLEs other than Space-Track?

As an amateur satellite tracker, and sometime reentry analyst, I am always anxious to get the newest tracking data for low-orbiting spacecraft. I have had to rely exclusively on Space-Track for the ...
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Which LEO satellite lost over 30 km of altitude in the geomagnetic storm of 13-14 March 1989?

This answer includes the following information: During the great geomagnetic storm of 13-14 March 1989, tracking of thousands of space objects was lost and it took North American Defense Command (...
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1answer
275 views

Has NORAD ever experienced a catastrophic event and “lost track of” a bunch of objects?

NORAD tracks satellites for several very important reasons. From time to time an object might become temporarily mis-identified or otherwise confused with another object, these things usually get ...
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+100

How does the SpaceBEEs' experimental passive radar reflector work?

My Question: What is the nature of the "experimental passive radar reflector developed by the U.S. Navy’s Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command"? How does it work, and why does it work for only a ...
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Are SpaceBEEs actually hard to track?

The IEEE News article FCC Accuses Stealthy Startup of Launching Rogue Satellites focuses mostly on the intrigue addressed in the question What checks are supposed to be carried out to prevent illegal ...
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2answers
256 views

Sun-synchronous satellite orbit propagation

I'm trying to propagate the orbit of a sun-synchronous satellite. The initial data is defined by the TLE. The orbit of the satellite is controlled by the operator ...
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1answer
140 views

Launch Trajectories

The trajectories of space launches and the deployment of their payload (both scientific and commercial) are certainly carefully monitored by the space agency or company providing the launch capability,...
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1answer
353 views

Why does NASA still use film cameras?

According to this video, NASA still operates some cameras for tracking rocket launches that use film: According to NASA, they even have some film cameras placed around their launch site loaded ...
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4answers
6k views

Is it possible to track an object as small as the Tesla Roadster around the Solar System

I have heard that we will soon lose track of the Tesla Roadster launched with the Falcon Heavy test launch. Yet, we know where Voyager is out beyond the Solar System and we followed other satellites ...
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1answer
416 views

Will the Tesla Roadster/Falcon 9H 2nd stage ever be a navigation hazard to cis-lunar space?

The saying "What goes around, comes around" can apply to spacecraft on ballistic trajectories that are launched from Earth into bound heliocentric orbits. Since the Tesla Roadster/Falcon 9H 2nd stage'...
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2answers
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For how long/far can we track Starman

Radar tracking is used for Earth satellites and big enough asteroids. As the FH-launched Tesla Roadster is leaving the Earth-Moon system and it is quite small object (the car + the payload adapter are ...
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1answer
382 views

It's been over two weeks now, will the real Humanity Star please stand up?

edit: This must be some kind of record! (cf. ISRO's PSLV-C37 with 104 satellites - after 56 hours only six TLEs, which factor is greatest challenge? This time its only six total!) At the end of ...
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2answers
3k views

Suppose Zuma wasn't “lost” — what would it take to detect it?

Being a secret government launch, there has been speculation maybe the Zuma satellite wasn't lost, and claims to the contrary are a ruse to throw off parties who'd like to track it. There is possible ...
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1answer
442 views

is space-track.org a free service?

Is the website space-track.org a free service ? If not can someone give other free website to track space debris.
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1answer
203 views

Why were early satellites produced with polished “mirror-like” surfaces?

Many/most early artificial satellites were spheres with mirror-like polished outer surfaces. I am guessing that for lower orbits the spherical shape minimized drag as well as simplified the analysis ...
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1answer
166 views

What determines if a star tracker blends two stars that are close to each other?

If two stars are very close to each other, a star tracker could identify the pair as a single star, with a magnitude and position different from both stars. This obviously impairs the software's ...
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3answers
912 views

How well could a satellite hide from Earth detection?

If there are only a few "enemy" radars at known locations that can detect a satellite in LEO, I'd assume there are some radar stealth methods using a spacecraft carefully shaped and oriented such that ...
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0answers
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Equinoctial Elements and Perturbative Effects

I have an Orbital model in Equinoctial Elements (paper). There is a perturbative acceleration term in the model. Can someone point me to some relevant papers showing how to include different ...
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1answer
143 views

Are 1U cubesats sufficiently detectable to get at least minimally usefully predictive public TLEs, updated regularly?

Satellite radar cross-sections is a complex function of satellite structure, design, materials, instantaneous attitude, (radar) frequency, polarization, and if has moving parts, configuration, just to ...
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2answers
620 views

CubeSat Orbit Determination

I'm thinking about the feasibility of making a CubeSat to test the EM drive thruster. Assuming the microwave electronics and resonant cavity could be scaled down to CubeSat size (5 watts, let's say), ...
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1answer
206 views

How accurate can near earth asteroids be tracked?

To get more statistical significance for the suspected flyby-anomaly (or to refute it), it would be desirable to track as many hyperbolic earth flybys to within 1mm/s as we can get. Can we track ...
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1answer
295 views

Is it possible for the Deep Space Network to use MSPA and antenna arraying simultaneously?

Suppose Mars Odyssey (ODY) and the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) are being tracked by antenna A (just for example) at the Goldstone Deep Space Network complex in MSPA mode. Is it possible for ...
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2answers
562 views

Is this the longest that a spacecraft “went to sleep” and then woke up on schedule?

For various reasons, spacecraft are sometimes "put to sleep" for periods of time on long voyages. Many systems are shut down, and radio communications suspended. Tracking of spacecraft at very large ...
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4answers
1k views

Would a Voyager spacecraft trajectory change be recognized?

Consider the following hypothetical event: a Voyager spacecraft (1 or 2) changes its planned interstellar trajectory quite suddenly (I'm well aware of motion and gravity laws and I know that this ...
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1answer
1k views

What are these enclosed regions on the Mission Control Center map?

Whilst watching NASA TV over the years, I've often seen the map on the wall of Mission Control:      "Main Screen in the ISS Mission Control Center", by AGeekMom, CC BY 2.0 In ...
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1answer
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Tracking of Mir space station backwards in time?

Is there a site with the tracking information for the old space station Mir? Or some place with the data location tracking information still available? Maybe even a site with orbital mechanics ...
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How does a spacecraft such as Soyuz detect when it's on collision course with an object?

Today Roscosmos reported (in Russian, here's a machine translation into English) that the Soyuz vehicle on its way to the ISS avoided collision with a piece of Japanese rocket body, allegedly launched ...
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1answer
436 views

Autonomous Navigation for deep space missions

Autonomous navigation started in early phases of deep space exploration as a provision to achieve accuracy for planet/natural satellite targeting and approach, where radio tracking accuracies were low,...
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1answer
598 views

Why has no TLE been published for the DSCOVR satellite and the Falcon 9 R/B?

So, usually a few days after every launch, I go out and check out the published TLE data for each satellite, made public courtesy of CelesTrak. It generally includes all the orbital parameters for ...
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1answer
261 views

How can we track where DSCOVR is now?

Celestia supports importing spacecraft data, but I didn't see any data for DSCOVR. Is there any way to see where it is now so we can track it on it's way to Sun-Earth L1?
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1answer
479 views

For SpaceX's Texas launch site, what kind of range radar/tracking will they have?

The Air Force runs the range for launches out of Florida and it is aging hardware, with long reset times, radars dropping off (Like first attempt of DSCOVR, and SMAP launch). I cannot find a ...
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1answer
88 views

Range Measurement from Range signal downlink

How is accurate time of round-travel determined from downlinked ranging signal? AFAIK Ranging signal, used to determine distance of a spacecraft is usually a reference wave modulated and uplinked, ...
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1answer
222 views

Tracking Arc and Time for Precise Orbit Determination

It is said that for Precise Orbit Determination (POD) of interplanetary spacecrafts, generally, during the cruise phase for aiding accurate TCM (Trajectory Correction Maneuvers) planning, long arc of ...
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1answer
275 views

Does mission control track craft in an adjacent orbit on the Mercator?

shows the Mercator screen at the centre. I'm probably wrong about this (feel free to shoot me down) but the Mercator up there appears to render what look like 3 different orbit tracks. Why are there ...
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2answers
4k views

Are any geosynchronous satellites visible with the naked eye?

It is very easy to spot LEO satellites during dusk or dawn. I am wondering if satellites further out in a geosynchronous orbit are also visible. Of course, if even possible, these would appear more ...
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1answer
1k views

Why did ISRO require additional tracking ships in the South Pacific for its MOM mission?

ISRO (Indian Space Research Organisation) so far never before used additional marine vessels to help track their launch vehicles, as an extension to the Indian Deep Space Network (IDSN). So why did it ...
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5answers
1k views

Satellite tracking software

I am looking for some software that will help me figure out what different satellites are as I spot them gliding across the sky. I have tried using Stellarium, but I think the satellite package has ...
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1answer
1k views

During launch, how is the launch vehicle tracked?

Obviously a launch vehicle needs to be tracked quite precisely during launch, but how is this accomplished? Is it all done from the ground, or do launch vehicles normally fly with GPS receivers? Is ...
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2answers
587 views

Can spacecraft be made invisible to stations on Earth?

Can spacecraft be made invisible to ground stations? For example, are spy satellites perhaps equipped with stealth technology to prevent radar tracking? Or is it pointless as they can always be ...