It's kind of a mess up there
February 15, 2017 12:18 PM   Subscribe

Stuff in Space is a realtime 3D map of objects in Earth orbit, visualized using WebGL.
posted by figurant (19 comments total) 22 users marked this as a favorite
Nice! (and seems the public datasets are a bit larger these days than back when you had to grab the data off obscure FTP sites :-)

Also TIL: Project West Ford aka "U.S.A. Dirties Space"
posted by effbot at 12:31 PM on February 15

Yeah, lots of Russian Cosmos satellites and spent rocket bodies.

No Chandra, Kepler or Hubble? I see WISE.
posted by intermod at 12:41 PM on February 15

We've even littered space. Go humans!
posted by Chuffy at 12:50 PM on February 15

Chandra is CXO / 1999-040B and Hubble is HST / 1990-037B, but Kepler's in a solar orbit so it doesn't show up.

TIL about the Iridum 33 collision.
posted by figurant at 1:01 PM on February 15

If you rotate the globe so you're looking "down" at the either of the poles, all the geosync birds line up in a single red ring.
posted by Insert Clever Name Here at 1:28 PM on February 15 [1 favorite]

Looks like FLOCK 3P (Planet Labs' most recent DOVE constellation) isn't up yet.
posted by zamboni at 1:46 PM on February 15

The Iridium Collision is such a sci fi thing to say.
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 2:25 PM on February 15 [1 favorite]

This is great but I wish I could look up my spacecraft by their NORAD number since James is grabbing NORAD TLEs from In trying to find Chandra after reading intermod's comment above I found Fengyun 1C debris 1999-025CHA. That bullshit debris was frequently in conjunction with us when I worked on Fermi (formerly GLAST) so much we used it for collision avoidance training.

Here's the video for the Iridium 33 / Cosmos 2251 collision from AGI because it is one of my favorites.
posted by Rob Rockets at 2:49 PM on February 15 [3 favorites]

Isn't there a company setting up to recover all the scrap?
I believe all new satelites have to have plans to either burn up or drop into the Sun at end of life.??
posted by Burn_IT at 2:52 PM on February 15

look up my spacecraft

Have I mentioned lately that I love MeFi?
posted by teraflop at 3:01 PM on February 15 [4 favorites]

All that garbage and no space-turtles to choke to death on it. What a waste of potential!
posted by turbid dahlia at 3:52 PM on February 15

I believe all new satelites have to have plans to either burn up or drop into the Sun at end of life.??

There's no "have to", only "should".

The U.N. has guidelines that the General Assembly encourages members to voluntarily implement. ISO has ISO 24113:2011 Space systems -- Space debris mitigation requirements, which suggests you should either de-orbit safely within 25 years, or if you can't do that, park yourself out of the way in a nice graveyard orbit. The US also have their own standard practices. There's an ITU recommendation, and there's various regulatory/licensing requirements imposed by the FCC or similar.

But with all that said and done, folks will get mad at you if you violate the guidelines, but there's no space cops enforcing them.
posted by zamboni at 4:02 PM on February 15

According to the 'about', the person who made this is a high-schooler (or just graduated high school, to be precise). Kids these days, amiright?
posted by lollusc at 4:06 PM on February 15 [6 favorites]

This is a good post, and you should feel good for posting it.
posted by Going To Maine at 5:09 PM on February 15 [2 favorites]

I feel a bit stupid asking, but can anyone explain why there is an extra-dense ring at a very specific distance on a single, roughly horizontal-to-the-poles (but not really) plane? Why that ring? Why that distance (~35 km)? Is that angle particularly optimal for coverage?
posted by exlotuseater at 5:30 PM on February 15

That's the distance for geostationary orbit. You'll notice a faint band at that distance that isn't on the equator, but a satellite in a 24-hour orbit over the equator will never appear to move in the sky. It's useful for a lot of communications and broadcast applications.
posted by figurant at 5:59 PM on February 15 [1 favorite]

(Nitpick: 35 km is inside the atmosphere, the highest balloon jumps are higher than that. The geostationary orbit is ~35,800 km above the earth's surface.)
posted by effbot at 6:09 PM on February 15 [1 favorite]

Here's the video yt for the Iridium 33 / Cosmos 2251 collision from AGI because it is one of my favorites.

Well if you are going to link us to an AGI video, then I have to link to my favorite AGI video of all time, showing how Intelsat did some uplink jujitsu to deal with the Galaxy-15 zombiesat.

That was a crazy couple of months.
posted by intermod at 9:04 PM on February 15

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