Google Earth: See the *insane* number of satellites in orbit + space junk. Grab this cool .kmz

Soldato
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Got Google Earth? Grab this:

http://adn.agi.com/SatelliteDatabase/SatelliteDatabase.kmz

And prepare to be amazed by the sheer # of stuff we have put up there. Don't forget you can click on any orbiting object and GE will animate its trajectory.

"With the recent discussion of the ISS having to dodge some space junk, many people's attention has once again focused on the amount of stuff in orbit around our planet. What many people don't know is that USSTRATCOM tracks and publishes a list of over 13,000 objects that they currently monitor, including active/retired satellites and debris. This data is meaningless to most people, but thanks to Analytical Graphics, it has now been made accessible free of charge to anyone with a copy of Google Earth. By grabbing the KMZ, you can not only view all objects tracked in real-time, but you can also click on them to get more information on the specific satellite, including viewing its orbit trajectory. It's an excellent educational tool for the space-curious. Disclaimer: I not only work for Analytical Graphics, but I'm the one that wrote this tool as a demo."
-Matt Amato
Source:http://science.slashdot.org/story/0...atellite-tracked-in-realtime-via-google-earth
 
Caporegime
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The funny thing is that we are doing it on a solar system scale nowadays, i wonder how much junk is floating around the sun or the other planets.

Earth's orbit was getting boring to pollute, so we went further :).

Hell we even have a junk heading outside of the solar system.
 
Soldato
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The funny thing is that we are doing it on a solar system scale nowadays, i wonder how much junk is floating around the sun or the other planets.

Earth's orbit was getting boring to pollute, so we went further :).

Hell we even have a junk heading outside of the solar system.

Best phone the Kuiper Belt then, I think it's been fly tipping for a lot longer... :)
 
Soldato
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Pretty amazing, found a piece of a DELTA 1 launched in 1970 still floating around!
 
Soldato
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I know this is really dumb, but omg @ how they do not crash into each other :D

How can we be sure, given the abnormalities of our orbit, that something wont "slip out of sync" and go crashing into something else.

Crazy physics.
 
Soldato
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******* HELL!!!
thats mind blowing, you start off and think yeah thats quite a lot of satallites, then I zoomed in and tilted so i'm looking at the horizon:eek::eek::eek:

the amount in lower orbit is just astounding!
 
Associate
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link dont work for me ....

EDIT ... oh , clicking it puts a link at the bottom of your screen. On Chrome it does anyway ....
 
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Soldato
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I wonder what the oldest satellite is that's currently still orbiting the planet?

Google says Vanguard 1. It's quite impressive just how long they can last, and how long they can keep working. There's some Amateur Radio satellites launched in the 60s and 70s that still transmit. And i mean Prospero is still up there, potentially still fully functional - it's just that we stopped tracking it.

Hell we even have a junk heading outside of the solar system.

Voyager and Pioneer are not junk. Some of them are still providing useful information. Look at it this way - if they ever get close enough to someone that they could potentially be a problem then they will have been a huge success ;)
 
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Associate
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I know this is really dumb, but omg @ how they do not crash into each other :D

How can we be sure, given the abnormalities of our orbit, that something wont "slip out of sync" and go crashing into something else.

Crazy physics.

I'd think it's something along the lines of using jet propulsion to alter the flight path of satellites as they orbit the planet. This is why every piece of debris than can do considerable damage to the sensitive portions of a satellite must be tracked so that the satellite can alter its flight path ahead of time and avoid damaging the very expensive equipment. IIRC there was some old space telescope or something along them lines that had to be decommissioned after the gas reserves used for jet propulsion ran out, as the telescope could no longer function as properly intended.

Like I said, I think that's how it's done.
 
Soldato
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iirc we throw up 220 new ones a year.

There's a space launch roughly every other day? Or can one launch get 10 satellites up there? Some of them look to weight 2 tonnes though though so can't be many going up at once?

Crazy.

Still takes ages to get a GPS fix..
 
Soldato
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Its pretty mental, even the SMALLEST piece of junk can do MASSIVE damage because their orbit-speed is in the region of 17,000mph!

Its kinda cool how they can track tiny objects with radar from the surface! Id be scared doing space-walks!

I know this is really dumb, but omg @ how they do not crash into each other :D
How can we be sure, given the abnormalities of our orbit, that something wont "slip out of sync" and go crashing into something else.
Crazy physics.

No question is dumb :) A lot of planning goes into a launch. The trajectories and positions of all sats are known so the lauch parameters ensure that the sat is inserted into the right orbit. Sats have small thrusters to allow for corrections. In fact the ISS has thrusters that are fired now and then to push it back up. The ISS is in LEO (Low Earth Orbit) so it actually experiences drag from the edges of Earths atmosphere. It is at about 230 miles above the surface. Contrast this with GPS satellites which are 12,000 miles away!

But like you said accidents DO occur..

WASHINGTON - Iridium Satellite LLC confirmed today that one of its satellites was destroyed Tuesday in an unprecedented collision with a spent Russian satellite and that the incident could result in limited disruptions of service.

According to an e-mail alert issued by NASA today, Russia?s Cosmos 2251 satellite slammed into the Iridium craft at 11:55 a.m. EST (0455 GMT) over Siberia at an altitude of 490 miles (790 km). The incident was observed by the U.S. Defense Department?s Space Surveillance Network, which later was tracking two large clouds of debris.

Source:http://www.space.com/5542-satellite-destroyed-space-collision.html
 
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