14-16 October 2019
Athens Conservatoire
Europe/Athens timezone

Satellite Hunting - NORAD ID Assignment

15 Oct 2019, 10:00
Athens Conservatoire

Athens Conservatoire

Vasileos Georgiou B 17-19, Athina 106 75, Greece
Workshop Ground Networks, Launchers, and Operations Workshops


Alfredos Panagiotis Damkalis (Libre Space Foundation)


In order to track a satellite you need to know its orbit. In most cases orbit is described by TLE (Two Line Elements) set which is a data format encoding a list of orbital elements. The main source of TLE sets for objects orbiting Earth is the United States Space Command (USSPACECOM) through the space-track.org website.

Soon after satellites deployment, tracked objects show up in space-track.org catalog. Each of them is now identified by a catalog number, known as NORAD ID or NORAD Catalog Number, and it comes with a TLE set.

And this is when there is a need to connect the dots and find out which of these object orbits describe better the orbit of the satellites and the debris of this deployment, a process unofficially known as TLE Lottery. It should be an easy task but there are several factors that may turn it into a real challenge.

In this workshop, we will go through this process and learn how we can assign NORAD IDs by using open source tools and projects. In addition we will discuss the challenges and we will explore ways to overcome them.

Primary author

Alfredos Panagiotis Damkalis (Libre Space Foundation)

Presentation Materials