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Questions tagged [tracking]

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

29
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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 ...
8
votes
2answers
585 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 ...
30
votes
2answers
4k views

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 (...
19
votes
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 ...
2
votes
1answer
400 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 ...
7
votes
1answer
298 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
428 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'...
12
votes
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 ...
3
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1answer
640 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.
11
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2answers
2k views

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 ...
4
votes
1answer
173 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 ...
1
vote
2answers
145 views

Where is the “antenna farm” from which this Soyuz launch photo was taken?

The Phys.org article SpaceX Christmas delivery arrives at space station had a small version of this photo, and I found this large one at wirenews.com's SpaceX Christmas delivery arrives at space ...
19
votes
2answers
632 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 ...
13
votes
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 ...
3
votes
1answer
232 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 ...
16
votes
2answers
3k views

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 ...
6
votes
1answer
256 views

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 ...
4
votes
1answer
225 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 ...
4
votes
0answers
184 views

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 ...
4
votes
2answers
324 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 ...
12
votes
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 ...
10
votes
3answers
1k 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 ...
8
votes
1answer
451 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,...
7
votes
1answer
489 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
630 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 ...
11
votes
1answer
241 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 ...
7
votes
1answer
346 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 ...
7
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2answers
524 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 ...
6
votes
2answers
744 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), ...
5
votes
1answer
90 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, ...
3
votes
1answer
256 views

How can I find sources for 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,...