Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Space Registry!

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Sadly, this is not a way for people to get married in orbit while amassing cool presents from various NASA Gift Shops. (It should be, but it's not. And, someone should get on that.)

Sure is a fun toy for nerds, though. Awesome place to kill major amounts of curiosity time! Been trapped here for hours.

The U.S. Space Objects Registry tracks all objects ever launched into outer space by the United States (and they are preparing to add items for Russia and China). On the top right of the page, you can click Browse Registry to begin with America’s first satellite (Explorer I in 1958) and continue on through every piece of hardware we ever shot into the sky!

US Space Objects Registry
Of course, it's much more fun and intriguing to play with the drop-down menus, which are quite enlightening. I found more decayed objects than I would have thought, but also more recovered objects than I imagined in our launch history. A lot of stuff is still floating out there, but quite a lot has been guided back to our planet's surface.

Selenocentric: As seen or estimated from the center of the moon; with the moon central.

Heliocentric
: Referred to or measured from the sun's center (or appearing as if seen from it).

GSO: Geosynchronous, as opposed to Geostationery, orbit.

Areocentric: In orbit around the planet Mars (or "Ares").

US Space Registry Search Results
Once inside the results, you can click on the International Designator to find more details, such as:

US Space Registry Search Details
You can also search by functions, such as which crafts are engaged in research, atmospheric conditions, communications, exploration, space flight techniques, and so on. Hours of fun for the geek set.

If you are truly hardcore (and have a few clicks to spare), go instead to the searchable Index at the United Nations Registration of Objects Launched into Outer Space. There you will find everything ever launched from Earth by 48 different nations.

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