9 thoughts on “Space Tracking Data”

  1. Well I remember using Flight Explorer to track commercial airline traffic over CONUS. So why not Orbit Explorer for tracking objects in orbit over the Earth?

  2. Speaking of tracking objects in Space. We have the successful recovery of OSIRIS-Rex and it actually landed within the confines of the Dugway Proving Grounds, not some small desert town in Arizona. Where it could have been subsequently pried open by the town’s doctor with the unfortunate subsequent side effect of turning the blood of almost everyone living in the town into a course powder.

    But rest assured there is absolutely no chance of biological activity in the samples returned from the asteroid Bennu. No water, extreme temperatures, the radiation and vacuum of Space, etc. etc. Bennu cannot possibly provide any of the basic requirements needed for building amino acids that form the basis for DNA and RNA, without which life cannot exist… As we all know….

    No mention was made if an SR-71 was brought out of retirement to track and photograph it.

    No mention has been made of any new COVID-like disease prevalent in the greater Houston area beyond the known strains.

  3. Moving the primary responsibility of maintaining the space catalog has been under study for about 5 years. They first talked about handing over the responsibility to the FAA but, for reasons not quite clear, they chose the Commerce Department. Air Force Space Command and now Space Force didn’t want to divert resources to do basic catalog maintenance, so they are in favor of the move. They also don’t want to bother with notifying Commercial and Foreign Entities (CFEs) of potential conjunctions.

    Moving catalog maintenance to Commerce might end up being a good thing. The military has tried for many years to replace their ancient computer systems but have failed repeatedly. Perhaps Commerce can do a better job of it because the catalog will be removed from the other systems related to missile warning. The first need is to be able to easily accept metric and element set data from 3rd parties such as satellite owner/operators and LEOLabs. This would allow for more accurate element set data in the catalog.

    1. Why not the US Coast Guard? It absorbed the Lighthouse Service in 1939 and keeping track of orbiting ‘reefs, shoals and other navigation hazards’ seems a better fit …than Commerce.

      1. 1.) Coasties still military, not civilians, so under DoD budget.
        2.) Commerce OCS will make commercial spaceflight first priority.
        3.) As commercial traffic overwhelms military traffic, it would divert resources from proper DoD activities.

  4. How is the transfer of tracking orbital debris to Commerce that big of a deal? So long as someone is tracking it and letting satellite operators know, isn’t that the most important thing? Is orbital objects / debris really that big a risk? As I look at the graph, if you take out intentional ASAT tests, then the amount of uncontrolled debris hasn’t gone up much for several decades.

  5. One of the issues that comes up when considering the use of Lagrange points as strategic locations in Cislunar space is the seeming worthlessness of EML-3.
    However, it seems to me that instruments parked at EML-3 and EML-1 would provide a comprehensive high ground view of cis-GEO space, as you’re looking at the planet from each side, with a lot of overlap in the data. Were I in the Space Force I would be all over that as an eye in the sky for monitoring orbital traffic in Cislunar space.
    As far as who in government should monitor it, NASA seems to be doing a pretty good job with their ODQN, but I know that’s not what we’re talking about. Commerce may be fine, though it may take them a bit to climb the learning curve. I would fully expect the Space Force (& DoD) to maintain their own assets in the regard and not tell us about them.
    Strategically, we need to get some assets in a halo orbit around EML-1 to establish a presence and invoke “do not disturb” rights under international treaty. Don’t worry, the volume of halo orbits at EML-1 is sufficiently large that multiple folks can set up shop there. We just want to get there early and grab one of the better orbits rather than being stuck in a PITA orbit with higher stationkeeping requirements.

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