[amsat-bb] Satellite TLE data

Daniel Kekez va3kkz at amsat.org
Sat Oct 29 04:53:50 UTC 2016

On 10/29/2016 02:13, John Mac wrote:
> I am curious to know why all Satelite TLE data can't be found in the
> few databases available, the obvious ones being OOREAS, Aeneas and a
> few others..
> A couple of the guys provide the data....but still interested to know
> why, and is this going to be a continuing trend...?

If the satellite was a secondary payload on a classified launch (e.g.
one where the primary payload was a satellite for the Department of
Defence or the National Reconnaissance Office), then the TLEs for all
the payloads are not published in the open on Space-Track or Celestrak.
The satellite operators will receive TLEs for their satellite and they
may choose to release that information.

O/OREOS launched with the DoD mission STPSAT-2, also known as USA 217.
Aeneas launched with the NRO mission NROL-36. Even AO-85 (FOX-1A) has
this problem because it launched on the same Atlas V rocket as AEHF-3
(USA 246) for the US Air Force; however, AMSAT-NA releases AO-85's TLE
on their website.

I expect the trend to continue in the near term for missions that fly
with US government military/reconnaissance satellites. If the mission is
on deployed from a commercial launch or from the International Space
Station, then the TLEs will get published.

-Daniel VA3KKZ

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