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Space Earth Graphics Programming

A Real-Time Map of All the Objects In Earth's Orbit 41

rastos1 writes: It started as a passion project in April for 18-year-old James Yoder, an alum of FIRST Robotics, the high school robotics competition. He wanted to learn more about 3D graphics programming and WebGL, a JavaScript API. It's stuffin.space, a real-time, 3D-visualized map of all objects looping around Earth, from satellites to orbital trash. In total, stuffin.space tracks 150,000 objects. Type in a satellite name to scope out its altitude, figure out its age, group satellites by type, and so on.
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A Real-Time Map of All the Objects In Earth's Orbit

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  • by __aabppq7737 ( 3995233 ) on Tuesday July 07, 2015 @05:10PM (#50065279)
    is succumbing to the /. effect

    just kidding. It's a bunch of huge resources
  • by macs4all ( 973270 ) on Tuesday July 07, 2015 @05:17PM (#50065319)
    I remember when the G5 Tower was first introduced, to demonstrate the compute-power of the G5, they had some guy come on stage and show a real-time animated display of all the (I assume unclassified) objects in Earth orbit.

    IIRC, it was announced that the software that did this was going to be available... And then, nothing. I just assumed the MIBs put the kibosh on the release for some "National Security" type-excuse.

    Glad to see that this is becoming available.

    So nice to see that we live in a coun-- Hey! Who are you! You can't come in h
    • by delt0r ( 999393 )
      The classified ones are in these databases as well. It turns out its really hard to hide things in space. Amateur space photographers even take photos of them.
  • by WillRobinson ( 159226 ) on Tuesday July 07, 2015 @05:18PM (#50065325) Journal

    When I was a kid, all we had for visualizations was a milk carton and a candle. All these things you can do from your basement make me sick!

    Really nice job though, wish I could hire him lol

    • When I was a kid, all we had for visualizations was a milk carton and a candle.

      Luxury! When I was a lad, we lived in a milk carton by the side of the road.

      With no candle, either!

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward

        When I was a kid, all we had for visualizations was a milk carton and a candle.

        Luxury! When I was a lad, we lived in a milk carton by the side of the road.

        With no candle, either!

        Man that sounds like a great life.

        When I was a lad my picture was on a milk carton because I was kidnapped by a human trafficking ring and forced to perform "candle shows".

    • The product is called Freefall and I have a version 1.2 copy running on a G4 Tower Mac connected the an HDMI switch so I can watch it on a big screen. It is, unfortunately, PPC only so it doesn't run on current Macs. There was an 'update' sold for a while that ran on intel also (I think, memory is tricky). But it was more like a redesign which just wasn't as nice as the original. The two names attached to the program, XtremeMac and Advanced Analytic System Design, seem to have passed from this world.

      You can

  • by Eloking ( 877834 ) on Tuesday July 07, 2015 @05:21PM (#50065331)

    While the map is quite awesome, I'm quite sure we'll see a lot of "news" bashing about how "polluted" our space is. After all, if I show this screenshot to anyone, most people will assume our space is really polluted (Wall-E style) : http://i.kinja-img.com/gawker-... [kinja-img.com]

    Truth is, the dot on the map are far from accurate in size (if it was the case, the "debris" would be ~100km in size). Furthermore, most of those debris will eventually deorbit and reenter the earth atmosphere in the next decade.

    • by CBM ( 51233 ) on Tuesday July 07, 2015 @05:41PM (#50065435)

      Hey dude, it's a really nice visualization website done by a high school kid. Don't kill the buzz.

      But now that you've diverted the topic, let me tell you that you're full of BS. stuffin.space doesn't show it, but space debris is a serious problem. stuffin.space shows the largest satellites, upper stages and debris chunks, but there are billions more pieces of debris that are too small to show on a website, but large enough to cause serious damage.

      It really doesn't take much to damage a spacecraft. I have some experience with this: I've worked with two different spacecraft that experienced "micrometeoroid" hits that damaged sensitive equipment. But really, in low earth orbit, micrometeoroid means human-made debris. There are plenty of flecks of paint and fragments of silicon that can slice through delicate spacecraft apertures or pop a solar panel.

      When we ran the numbers using NASA's best simulation of space debris at the time, we were horrified to find out the amount of 20-50 micron pieces of debris that had enough energy to puncture sensitive detector windows and films. And this simulation only had data from before the huge space collisions of the past decade, which have probably doubled or tripled the total debris load. In our plans for a new satellite project, a damaging hit by space debris was one of the serious factors limiting mission lifetime.

      And no, most of the debris will not de-orbit. Yes, anything within 600 km or so altitude will likely be affected by atmospheric and solar drag and re-enter within our lifetimes, but there is a huge orbital phase space where debris will essentially be stuck there forever. NASA requires its missions to have a debris mitigation plan.

      So, thanks for poo-pooing space debris. Some high school guy's website sure was a great soapbox for you to tear a straw man apart.

      • by Eloking ( 877834 )

        C'mon I'm not killing any buzz. I love that map and I've even added it to my bookmark.

        And I know how dangerous those debris are. Some of those debris top 10 km/s (36 000 km/h) and if're you're heading the other way...well you get the picture.

        My point was about the misconception of space pollution. Normal folk imagine we're going to end up like that scene in Wall-E where a rocket have to pass through a wall of debris to leave earth orbit. It's a huge additional challenge for all space mission but we're handl

  • A .space domain! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by MobyDisk ( 75490 ) on Tuesday July 07, 2015 @05:24PM (#50065343) Homepage

    I rarely post to Slashdot unless I have something to contribute, but this time I just have to say:


    1) I didn't know there was a .space domain.
    2) Holy moly that is beautiful.

  • by rastos1 ( 601318 ) on Tuesday July 07, 2015 @05:39PM (#50065429)
    Interestingly if you lookup ISS (ZARYA) you will see another dot "just next" to it - Progress-M 28M cargo spaceship with supplies for ISS.
  • FYI: Hubble is "HST" (Score:5, Informative)

    by MobyDisk ( 75490 ) on Tuesday July 07, 2015 @05:50PM (#50065473) Homepage

    If you are looking, the hubble space telescope is HST or 1990-37B. If you want to find more designations, follow the external links in https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Designator [wikipedia.org] like the NSSDC Master Catalog.

  • by nospam007 ( 722110 ) * on Tuesday July 07, 2015 @06:04PM (#50065543)

    Finally! News for nerds! Wow!

    I thought it would never happen again.

    • by rastos1 ( 601318 )

      Finally! News for nerds! Wow!

      Based on the number of replies there is at about 30 nerds sticking with /.

  • Funny that none of the recon birds are there.

  • This is fantastic work. It's a great demonstration of what WebGL can do, but also a great demonstration of what James Yoder can do with it.

    James, if you're looking for a job, we need to talk!

  • It works fine on all three. But what I thought was interesting was that when I opened the page in IE, the computer's fan started revving up. As I zoomed in and out and panned around, it really got going. Chrome and Firefox...both cool as a cucumber. That says something about the optimization (or lack thereof) in IE's rendering engine.

  • Reminds me of eve online. But more responsive! Thats a really amazing project. Congrats. Makes sense that there are only 40 comments. All the real cool stuff never gets any attention round here...

  • First off, this is amazing! I would love it if the moon were included just for the effect of scale.

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