My friend and colleague Wang Ting has just released an amazing and useful—and free—add-on to Google Earth, that allows you to view active satellites and debris around the Earth. As his website says, the database combines information from the U.S. Space Track catalog and the UCS Satellite Database and presents it visually in Google Earth. It allows the user to easily display the location of individual objects or sets of objects—both active satellites and debris—around the Earth, as well as showing the orbit and technical information about each object.
The database automatically updates the location and orbit of each object every morning from the Space Track catalog and downloads the updated information to your computer when you start Google Earth.
The user can easily control what objects to show on the screen, and can color-code them. Wang Ting has also written a very usable user’s manual to get you started.
Wang Ting is currently a post-doc in the Cornell Peace Studies Program, having gotten his PhD from Beihang University (formerly the Beijing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics) working on space debris and orbital dynamics.
You can download the database from his
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website. Try it—it may change your life.