GCAT: General Catalog of Artificial Space Objects

Jonathan C. McDowell


GCAT Release 1.5.5 (2024 May 5) | Data Update 2024 Jul 19


During the course of my research, I have made use of many archives and specialist libraries. I thank -
 Donna Colletti, Daina Bouquin and all the staff at the library of the Harvard-Smithsonian
  Center for Astrophysics, Cambridge, Mass.
 Eileen Dorschner, former librarian at the Aeronautics/Astronautics Library, MIT, Cambridge, Mass.
 Brian Nicklas and other staff
  at the library and archives of the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum, Washington;
 Mark Kahn and the other staff of the Garber Facility Archives of the
  Smithsonian Air and Space Museum, Suitland, Maryland;
 The staff of Archives II, the National Archives, College Park, Maryland;
 Tomoko Steen at the Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.;
 Roger Launius at the History Office, NASA Headquarters, Washington, D.C.;
 The staff of the Declassified Documents Reading Room, National Reconnaissance
  Office, Virginia;
 The library at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland;
 Elaine Liston at the Archives, NASA Kennedy Space Center, Florida;
 Mark Cleary at the History Office, Patrick Air Force Base, Florida;
 The Redstone Arsenal Scientific Information Center, Huntsville, Alabama;
 The History Office, Redstone Arsenal, Huntsville, Alabama;
 The Library, NASA Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, Alabama;
 The National Archives Southern Area, Atlanta, Georgia;
 The Jet Propulsion Laboratory Archives, Pasadena, California;
 The Lewis (now Glenn) Research Center archives, Cleveland, Ohio;
 The library at Kitt Peak National Observatory, Tucson, Arizona;
 The staff of the NASA Center for Aerospace Information;
 Jeff Geiger at the History Office, Vandenberg Air Force Base, Lompoc, California;
 Harry Waldron at the History Office, Los Angeles Air Force Base, El Segundo, California;
 Pat McGinnis at the archives of Boeing, Los Angeles, California;
 The public library in Lompoc, California;
 The library at the British Interplanetary Society, Vauxhall, London;
 David Dewhirst and Jean Sanderson, formerly at the library of the Institute of Astronomy, Cambridge.
 Doug Millard and the staff of the Science Museum archives, Wroughton, England.
 Joe Page II, formerly of Vandenberg AFB.
 The Biblioteque Nationale, Paris;
 The Centre Spatiale de Toulouse;
 L. Valentin at the library, ESTEC, Noordwijk, the Netherlands;
 Herr Schinhan at the Deutsches Museum Archiv, Munich;
 Heiner Klinkrad at ESOC, Darmstadt, Germany and the ESA space debris team
 The staff of ISRO at Bangalore and Trivandrum.
 The staff and correspondents of Novosti Kosmonavtiki magazine, Moscow;
 The Beijing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics

I also thank the entire space surveillance community, notably the 18th Space Control Squadron and its predecessors and the SAIC software team behind Space-Track.org.

In the early years of this research I made extensive use of the Science Museum Library, South Kensington, London; the Science Reference Library at Holborn, London (whose materials are now sadly stashed in the off-site stacks of the British Library); and the Cambridge University Library.

Of course, this work has also depended on the insight and generosity of many individuals. With apologies to those not included below, a partial list follows (affiliations may no longer be current):

  Vladimir Agapov of KIAM, Moscow, historian of the Russian space program;
  Peter Alway, author of Rockets of The World;
  Stefan Barensky, in Paris, space journalist
  Cees Bassa, astronomer and satellite observer
  Chris Bergin, in York, the guy behind nasaspaceflight.com
  Ulrich Brocks, in Germany, scourer of old newspapers
  Mike Cassutt, expert on US astronaut biographies
  I-Shih Chang at the Aerospace Corporation;
  John Charles at NASA JSC;
  Bob Christy, Kettering group satellite tracker
  Phillip Clark of London, expert on Russian and Chinese space
  Mordechai Cohen, GSFC
  Anne-Marie Corley, space writer
  Keith Cowing, of Reston, Virginia, Mr. NASA Watch
  Gerry Daelemans, GSFC small payloads manager
  Dwayne Day, space historian
  Jean-Michel Desobeau of Arianespace, Paris-Evry.
  David DeVorkin of the National Air and Space Museum;
  Abby Dickes, PR for Nanoracks
  Russell Eberst of Edinburgh, satellite observer
  Martin Elvis, astrophysicist at SAO;
  Stuart Eves, formerly of Surrey Satellite
  Jeff Foust, space journalist
  Daniel Fischer, astronomer and space journalist
  Rick Fleeter of AeroAstro and Brown University;
  Sven Grahn, Swedish space engineer and historian and Kettering Group member.
  Bill Gray, of Project Pluto, asteroid and deep space junk aficionado
  Laura Grego, space weapons expert at the Union of Concerned Scientists in Cambridge, MA
  Teri Grimwood, keeper of the satellite list at the Union of Concerned Scientists in Washington DC
  the late Rex Hall of London, biographer of cosmonauts
  Henry Hallam, formerly of Planet Labs
  Bill Harwood, journalist.
  Andrew Higgins, prof of Mech. Eng. at McGill in Gerry Bull's old lab
  Peter Hunter of Sydney, archivist of launch vehicle pictures
  Roland Ivarnez of CNES Toulouse,
  Ram Jakhu of the Institute of Air and Space Law, McGill University
  Nick Johnson at JSC, NASA orbital debris guru
  Bill Keel of Tuscaloosa, astronomer and space science historian
  T.S. Kelso, astrodynamicist par excellence and SSA gadfly
  the late Tony Kenden, pioneer of US military space history
  the late Neville Kidger, UK, chronicler of the Soviet piloted space program
  Joe King, National Space Science Data Center at GSFC
  Robert Kratschmann, Austria, database expert
  Gunter Krebs, Germany, space historian
  Greg Kulacki, Beijing representative of the Union of Concerned Scientists
  Marco Langbroek, satellite observer, Leiden
  Michael Lara, formerly of Thiokol/ATK
  Roger Launius, Washington, former NASA chief historian
  Jeffrey Lewis, the arms control wonk
  Igor Lissov of Moscow, space journalist and historian
  John Logsdon, George Washington University, space policy expert
  Mike Loucks, astrogator
  Paul Maley of JSC, satellite observer
  Will Marshall, formerly of NASA-Ames, enfant terrible space activist and now Planet CEO
  Mike McCants, satellite observer and orbit archiver
  Cameron Meek, OneWeb
  Ted Molczan of Toronto, satellite observer;
  Joey Murphy, MIT
  Jackie Newmyer, formerly of the Kennedy School, China expert
  Carlos Neiderstrasser, engineer at Orbital Sciences (now NG)
  Jim Oberg of Houston, space historian, commentator and professional gadfly
  Richard Orloff, chronicler of Apollo
  The late Geoff Perry, founder of the Kettering Group of space analysts.
  John Pike, Washington, space policy expert
  Joel Powell, expert on obscure rockets;
  Gopal Raj, journalist and author in Trivandrum, India
  Martin Ransom, Arianespace commentator.
  Justin Ray, Florida, space journalist
  Marc Rayman, JPL deep space explorer,
  Carl Rigg, who repeatedly cross checked his extensive launch list with mine
  The late Joel Runes, of Florida, master of archival TLEs;
  Keith Scala of Connecticut, collector of launch lists.
  JJ Serra, French space historian
  Asif Siddiqi of Fordham U. New York, historian of the Russian space program;
  Marcia Smith, space expert at the Congressional Research Service
  Glenn Swanson, Houston, former historian at NASA and founder of Quest magazine
  Allen Thomson, Virginia, expert on US intelligence programs in space
  Tina Thompson, former editor of the TRW Space Log
  Wang Ting of the BUAA, Beijing
  the late Jacques Tiziou of Washington DC, journalist and expert on the French program.
  David Todd of London, aerospace insurance expert.
  Chris van den Berg, Dutch expert in radio monitoring of Salyut/Mir.
  Timofey Varlomeev, Russia, expert on the R-7 launch vehicle
  Antonin Vitek of Czechoslovakia,
  Sergey Voevodin, Russian space historian
  Mark Wade of Vienna, author of the web site Encylopedia Astronautica
  Nick Watkins of the British Antarctic Survey, Cambridge
  Brian Weeden, of the Secure World Foundation
  Gareth Williams of the Minor Planet Center at CfA
  Max White, satellite observer
  Carol Wilbanks at the Aerospace Corporation
  The late Fred Whipple, space age pioneer.
  George Whitesides, Virgin Galactic
  Chris Wood, UK expert on Russian navsats
  David Wright, from the Union of Concerned Scientists in Cambridge, MA
  Yoshiro Yamada at the Yokohama Science Center
  Peter Young, MIT aerospace professor
  Anatoliy Zak, Russian space expert.
  Aleksandr Zheleznyakov, Russian space expert.