Launch Pad: Satellites

Subject Phys Eng

'Space' Award for Air Cadets: Identification and tracking of the objects orbiting the Earth

There are links below to activities that will investigate the objects in orbit around the Earth. The expected time duration each activity is given in the title of the link below. The total run time of the video tutorial is 22 min - watch it all first - there is a natural break at around 11 min.

Satellite investigation tasks


  • to be able to use technical data about objects in Earth orbit
  • to know how identify and describe objects in Earth orbit
  • to know how to classify orbits
  • to know the likely disposition of communications and observation satellite how to locate specific satellites

Watch the video tutorial first, then visit the feautured website (stuffin.spaceand complete the first 4 tasks below (also linked below as a pdf) and then attempt the test.

Explore (20–30 min)

1. Open the software, ideally in a new window.

2. Use the Help tool to see the distinction between space debris and recently.

3. Use the zoom-out slider (bottom right) to increase the region you are observing

4. Use the Search tool to locate 

  • the Hubble Space Telescope (HST)
  • the International Space Station (ISS)
  • Carbonite-2 (check on the internet who uses this satellite)
  • Chandra X-ray Observatory (CXO)

5. Leaving the page open, move on to the test (see below).

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