“Watch this Space” is a little experiment of mine to try and show people what is going on in Earth orbit. In this episode we cover all of the satellite launches and newly tracked pieces of debris for May 2016.

All of the object orbits are taken from real tracking data (from http://www.space-track.org) so every single coloured dot is a real object. The positions and motion of the objects relative to the Earth are to scale but each objects size is greatly exaggerated (otherwise there would be nothing to see!).

The objects covered are:

New Satellites

JCSAT-14 JCSAT-14 replaces JCSat 8 at 154° East longitude and expands on its capacity to meet the growing demand for telecommunications infrastructure in the Asia Pacific region. Launched by Falcon-9.

YAOGAN 30 The Chinese Yaogan-30 remote sensing satellite was launched on the 15th May via a Long March (Chang Zheng) 2D (Y27) rocket. The launch was from the from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Centre.

MINXSS MinXSS is a 3U CubeSat solar physics mission from the CU (University of Colorado) at Boulder, designed to better understand the energy distribution of solar flare SXR (Soft X-ray) emissions. It was deployed from the ISS on 16th May 2016.

CADRE CADRE is a collaborative space weather 3U CubeSat mission from the University of Michigan (UMich), Ann Arbor, NASA/GSFC, and NRL (Naval Research Laboratory) of Washington DC. It was also launched on the 16th May 2016 from the ISS.

STMSAT 1 STM-Sat-1 is designed to perform Earth observation. Built and designed by elementary school students, supported by technical advisors from NASA. Launched on the 16th May 2016 from the ISS.

NODES 1and 2 NASA’s Nodes (Network and Operation Demonstration Satellite) is a mission to demonstrate new network capabilities critical to the operation of swarms of multiple spacecraft. Launched on the 16th May 2016 from the ISS.”

FLOCK 2E and 2E The Flock Earth observing constellation built and operated by Planet Labs consists of numerous triple CubeSats. 8 flock 2E and 2E’ satellites were launched from the ISS in May.

New Debris

NOAA 16 DEB 50 new pieces of NOAA-16 were tracked in May (making the total number over 300). NOAA-16 was decommissioned on 9th June 2014 after a critical anomaly and broke up in November 2015.

RESURS P2 DEB 2 pieces of debris from the Russian commercial Earth observation satellite Resurs-P2 were tracked in May.

BREEZE-M DEB 4 new pieces of debris from Breeze-M (Briz-M) upper stages were tracked in May to add to the over 500 pieces already in orbit.