Questions tagged [tracking]

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

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30
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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
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2answers
695 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 ...
23
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2answers
4k 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 ...
7
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1answer
553 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 ...
31
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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 (...
5
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1answer
396 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
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1answer
490 views

What would be a “big picture” understanding of how the orbits of Earth satellites are monitored?

In preparation for another question, I typed "keeping track of satellites in orbit" into a search engine, and found a website called keeptrack.space which has a ...
17
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2answers
6k 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 ...
2
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1answer
445 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 ...
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 ...
8
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1answer
374 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
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1answer
456 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'...
3
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1answer
2k 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.
2
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1answer
494 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 ...
3
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1answer
254 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 ...
3
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1answer
93 views

Why aren't there any trajectories for the Viking missions in JPL Horizons' database?

Horizons has calculated trajectories for deep space spacecraft, including six objects related to Apollo 8 through 12. See an (old) list in the currently unanswered question What was Chang'e-2'...
2
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2answers
304 views

Where can I find the TLE of ExseedSat 1, India's first ever private LEO satellite?

On 3rd December 2018, a private Indian company Exseed Space launched it's first ever satellite into space called ExseedSat 1. But I couldn't find the TLE for this satellite. I looked it up on n2yo ...
1
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2answers
265 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 ...
20
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2answers
828 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 ...
17
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1answer
2k 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 ...
12
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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 ...
8
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3answers
504 views

Why is the NORAD Catalog number of SpaceX's Starlink's “Darksat” both 71130 and 44972?

@BowlOfRed's answer to Which of the recently launched Starlink satellites is the coated one? links to Celestrak's supplemental table for Starlink. https://celestrak.com/NORAD/elements/supplemental/...
6
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1answer
261 views

What (the heck) are “space-fixed coordinates” as described in Apollo mission trajectory analyses?

@Ludo's answer to If I wanted to reconstruct an entire Apollo mission's crewed spacecraft trajectories, what are the key sources of historical data I'd look for? shows the table and its source shown ...
16
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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 ...
4
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1answer
264 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
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2answers
643 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 ...
3
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1answer
175 views

Did Zuma complete at least one orbit? [duplicate]

Question: Did Zuma complete at least one orbit? CLOSE VOTERS, PLEASE NOTE: answers to What was the outcome of the launch of ZUMA by SpaceX, to the best of the public's knowledge? do not answer my ...
23
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4answers
5k 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 ...
3
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2answers
822 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 ...
13
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5answers
2k 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 ...
9
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3answers
2k 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
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1answer
547 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,...
8
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1answer
530 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 ...
3
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2answers
133 views

How exactly were the signals from quad dishes of Apollo Deep Space High-Gain Antenna or Russian B-529 processed for local control of tracking?

The images below (and their sources) show the quad dishes of the Apollo Deep Space High-Gain Antenna and the Russian B529 ground station tracking antenna. From NASA Technical Note TN D-6723 Apollo ...
11
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1answer
284 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 ...
9
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2answers
1k 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 ...
8
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1answer
441 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 ...
6
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1answer
298 views

How could RCA Satcom III have been completely lost? (Or was it?)

This answer to What “missing satellite” was part of the story of CNN's debut? quotes the 1981 UPI Article The RCA Satcom III-R commercial communications satellite, designed to... as follows: The ...
6
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2answers
1k 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
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1answer
102 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, ...
4
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1answer
284 views

How will Starlink satellites be capable of tracking on-orbit debris and autonomously avoiding collision?

The press kit for the first Falcon 9 Starlink launch and deployment of the first 60 satllites scheduled for May 15, 2019 says: Starlink satellites are capable of tracking on-orbit debris and ...
4
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0answers
67 views

Do SpaceX and other US-based launch companies get “ITAR waivers” for live-broadcasting processed telemetry data?

The 17-Feb-2016 answer to Is the Falcon 9 launch/landing telemetry data available for visualisation purposes? explains that access to telemetry data is controlled by ITAR and/or other regulations, but ...
3
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1answer
682 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,...
2
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1answer
108 views

Why hasn't DSCOVR's trajectory determination been updated in JPL's Horizons after 2015-Aug-4?

I tried to download orbital positions for the DSCOVR spacecraft in its Lissajous orbit around Sun-Earth L1 from JPL's Horizons web page but I was surprised to see the following! No ephemeris for ...
2
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1answer
166 views

What do these Apollo era terms mean?

@Ludo's answer to If I wanted to reconstruct an entire Apollo mission's crewed spacecraft trajectories, what are the key sources of historical data I'd look for? links to Apollo Mission 11, ...
2
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1answer
326 views

What steel ball was thrown out of the ISS to help test how well ground stations can track orbital debris?

The question What kinds of things have been tossed out of the ISS? has a broken YouTube link. This is why it's good to include at least the name of the video in your post (which I didn't back in 2016)....
2
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1answer
99 views

How exactly does TDRSS provide tracking? (Tracking and Data Relay Satellite System)

This excellent answer to How does satellites know it is in apogee or perigee states: The NASA Tracking and Data Relay Satellite System (TDRSS) adds to this a constellation of satellites in such a ...
2
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0answers
77 views

When was the first successful photograph of an orbital spacecraft from Earth taken?

Early artificial satellites were tracked by radio and visually by amateurs, scientists and military personnel for various reasons including fun and improving the understanding of orbital dynamics ...
1
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1answer
73 views

Why does OGO-1's trajectory and imminent reentry come from sky surveys and NEO tracking rather than normal satellite tracking?

Space.com's 56-year-old NASA satellite expected to fall to Earth this weekend says: "OGO-1 is predicted to re-enter on one of its next three perigees, the points in the spacecraft's orbit ...
1
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1answer
64 views

How does one use the Surveillance Fence feature in keeptrack.space?

keeptrack.space was mentioned in What would be a “big picture” understanding of how the orbits of Earth satellites are monitored? but I haven't visited the site since. Running across this again today ...