Satscape

Track satellites on your desktop

I don't know about you but I'm not planning to launch any satellites into Space soon. However,with Satscape you can at least pretend to be working for NASA, tracking satellites orbiting the Earth. View full description

PROS

  • Tracks satellites in real time
  • Works across platforms

CONS

  • Technical to setup and understand
  • Satellites being tracked are either incomplete or limited
  • Requires unrestricted access to your machine

Not bad
5

I don't know about you but I'm not planning to launch any satellites into Space soon. However,with Satscape you can at least pretend to be working for NASA, tracking satellites orbiting the Earth.

Unfortunately the results are a little disappointing, though. Satscape is a cross-platform application for tracking supposedly over 8,000 satellites and even debris orbiting the Earth in real time. In fact, according to developer 'Everything from the International space station to a misplaced spanner can be tracked right on your screen with no special equipment'. The developer regrets, however, that Satscape doesn't currently track Santa (although every Christmas Google Earth does, if you really must).

When you open the Satscape download file, a Java downloader retrieves the program from the Satscape database. It requests unrestricted access to your machine which I'm not really keen on but hey, you have no choice if you want to use it. When you've finally dealt with all these access requests, the application can be launched from your desktop upon which you're immediately welcomed by a Steven Hawking-type voice. The 'robot' asks you to configure your settings, although it's not particularly clear how you do this.

After changing very little, I entered my location in the Location tab and saved the settings. Although there are no further instructions, you then click either 2D or 3D view to see the satellites in action. While I was hoping to see a nice revolving image of the globe with all the satellites, lost spanners and astronauts orbiting it, all I got was a choice of viewing two satellites, one of which was labeled ISS, which I presume was the International Space Station. There was no information about what the other satellite was supposed to be used for.

Overall, Satscape felt way too technical and confusing for a newcomer to this kind of thing. Apparently it issues voice warnings when a satellite is about to pass overhead and I can see how this could be useful for a TV satellite engineer on the ground here or other entity seeking to make contact with a satellite. For everyone else however, there's not much enjoyment or interest to be had in Satscape, unless you just want to follow the International Space Station.

Satscape is probably too technical for most people to figure out but if you have an interest in tracking satellites and are willing to persevere, then it may be one of your few options.

Satscape

Download

Satscape 2.02