Space geeks rejoice!
September 3, 2010 5:36 AM   Subscribe

Up above the world so high, what's that spacecraft in the sky?

The National Space Science Data Center, a division of NASA, provides a searchable catalog of all spacecraft launched from the planet Earth.

The catalog provides access to a wealth of data and information about the spacecraft, the science and people involved, and info about the fruit of the missions. For your convenience:

- Search for spacecraft by name, mission type, or launch date (by far this is my favorite part of the site)
- Search for experiments aboard spacecraft
- Search for (records of) data collections
- Search for personnel involved in space missions
- Search for publications derived from space missions
- Search for (records of) maps made by spacecraft of Mars, Venus or the Moon (by lat/lon) - sorry, no actual maps online
- Search for recent data
- Search for significant space-mission-related events by keyword or date

Not sure where to start having fun?
- Try searching for spacecraft launched in 1969 to read about the vehicles involved in the space race!
- Check out the spacecraft launched recently in your favorite space-research area, and get a taste of what's to come when they reach their destinations.
- Or how about searching for all military spacecraft launched in 2009 and speculate on their classified and indubitably nefarious purposes.
- Try searching for all spacecraft-related events in your birth year!
posted by Salvor Hardin (10 comments total) 17 users marked this as a favorite
Great resource! Thanks!
On a related note, NASA also provides Jtrack3D...a realtime mapping of damn near everything currently orbiting the Earth. Click on a dot and you get the name of the object and its orbital path. Requires Java
posted by Thorzdad at 5:51 AM on September 3, 2010 [2 favorites]

a realtime mapping of damn near everything currently orbiting the Earth

At least the stuff they know the location and identity of.
posted by DU at 6:00 AM on September 3, 2010

On a related note, NASA also provides Jtrack3D

Holy crap, that's awesome.
posted by Salvor Hardin at 6:06 AM on September 3, 2010

At least the stuff they know the location and identity of.
Thus the "damn near" qualifier.
posted by Thorzdad at 6:18 AM on September 3, 2010

Space geeks will probably also like the photos that NASA has recently made available on Flickr.
posted by shakespeherian at 6:23 AM on September 3, 2010 [1 favorite]

I don't think I'd characterize the fullness of NASA's knowledge of orbiting objects, and especially not their exposing of details of same to the general public, as "damn near". A lot, yes. But there's also a lot up there that is unknown for one reason or another (in either direction--i.e., I know XYZ is up there but I can't find it vs I just saw something but I don't know what it was).
posted by DU at 6:32 AM on September 3, 2010

I appreciate this should be blindingly obvious, but in that JTrack3D it's still quite cool to click on one of the geostationary objects and see just how close all the others are to the red line.

Although, I suppose, a geostationary object probably shouldn't have a red orbit line...
posted by sodium lights the horizon at 6:39 AM on September 3, 2010

A somewhat related note: this afternoon Simon Pegg sent a message to the stars.
posted by fight or flight at 7:01 AM on September 3, 2010

Don't need this to see Venus; it's the brightest thing in my evening sky right now.
posted by bwg at 7:37 AM on September 3, 2010

But which one is my restored Imperial cruiser, Hardin? Your delivery is late. Yours, Wienis
posted by zoogleplex at 12:16 PM on September 3, 2010

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