Re: Space Track TLEs

Date: Sat Aug 25 2012 - 09:58:29 UTC

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    Today I tried further the API with rather good results. Apart from the 
    speed problem, which should be related to the test setup, I managed 
    to obtain all the TLE I wanted.
    The API may appear complex at the beginning but it requires only a
    few tests to become "user-friendly": If one wants to retrieve TLEs in a plain 
    text format , the initial part of the URL is fixed to:
    the remaining part tells the system which TLEs you want. You can use
    one of the following parameters listed here to run the search:
    (however please note that during this test phase only a few of them can be 
    It's even very easy to retrieve old TLEs specifying the desired date interval.
    For example, to retrieve all the TLEs of the ISS with epoch between July 21 
    and July 22, ordering the results by descending epoch and limiting the list 
    to 100 elements, the following URL can be used:
    21/NORAD_CAT_ID/25544/orderby/EPOCH desc/sublimit/100
    When all the parameters will be active, the search will be very powerful; it 
    will be 
    even possible to obtain elements by inclination, eccentricity and other 
    If nothing will change, the current limit of retrievable elements seems to be 
    to 500000, far enough to retrieve the whole catalog.
    So far I have found only one "big" problem in the current setup, but maybe 
    I am wrong and someone of you can help me:
    the TLE class, which is used to retrieve TLEs, does not contain the satellite 
    name and this leads to two main problems:
    1) the retrieved TLEs can be only in 2 line format (without the satellite 
     I think it's important to have also the 3 line format!
    2) TLEs can not be retrieved by satellite name. For example, this means 
    it isn't possible to retrieve all the satellites whose name contain the word 
    Iridium like this:
    After these tests, I am positive about the new service, although I would not 
    remove the bulk zip file, which would help to reduce the database queries 
    (it would be easy to limit  the user access to the bulk catalog to a "couple" 
    of downloads per day in order to reduce the traffic, as someone already 
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