Astro::SpaceTrack upgrade

For some time now, the Space Track web site, which is the official source for satellite orbital elements, has been working on an upgrade to a REST interface. This interface is scheduled to go live on February 20.

My module Astro::SpaceTrack retrieves orbital data from the Space Track web site. To track this change, I intend shortly to release a new version of Astro::SpaceTrack which uses the REST interface by default. My understanding is that the old, screen-scraping interface will be available for an indefinite (but finite) time. For details, click on the post title for the extended version of the post.

For some time now, the Space Track web site, which is the official source for satellite orbital elements, has been working on an upgrade to a REST interface. This interface is scheduled to go live on February 20.

I have been tracking this work in the Astro::SpaceTrack package, which retrieves data from the Space Track web site. This module uses the space_track_version attribute to determine which interface to use to access the Space Track web site: A value of 1 (the default) gets you the old, screen scraping interface, and a value of 2 gets you the new REST interface.

I intend to release, shortly, a production version of Astro::SpaceTrack which makes a single change: the default value of the space_track_version interface will become 2. The screen-scraping interface will still be available by explicitly setting the value of the space_track_version attribute to 1. I understand that this interface will remain available once the REST interface goes live, for an indefinite (but finite) period. Because I have no control over the life of the screen-scraping interface, users would do well to move to the REST interface as soon as they reasonably can.

Once the REST interface becomes live, I intend to make another production release, whose sole change is to access the REST interface through the production URL rather than the beta URL. This release will also deprecate the screen-scraping interface.

Some time down the road the screen-scraping interface will go away, both on the Space Track web site and (as soon as I notice) in Astro::SpaceTrack.

4 Comments

Very cool. I have been looking for a source of quantitative data for making cool demo plots, and I may give this a try for my public examples. :-)

Any advice on calculating magnitude of a pass? With range, sun angle and elevation of the satellite available, shouldn't that be enough to determine the magnitude? Might this be something that could be added to the pass output?

You mentioned in an early post that you'd be interested in knowing who was using Astro::SpaceTrack, satpass, etc and for what. I'm using it primarily for ISS pass predictions posted to a number of twitter accounts. This also takes into account forecast cloud cover (coming from the National Weather Service) in deciding what/whether to tweet to managed expectations.

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About Tom Wyant

user-pic Fine Perl code for over 0.005 centuries.