TruSat Test Pilot Mission 1: Track the Space Station

Calling all Test Pilots

We’re excited to announce our first mission for Test Pilots: find and report the position of the International Space Station.

While many of you may have seen the ISS before, making and reporting an observation with precision, and in a format that supports orbit calculation, is a multi-step process that takes some practice. We’ll walk you through this process with detailed instructions.

The mission runs from the 9th to the 22nd of December, 2019.

What’s the purpose of this mission?

By learning to track a specific satellite, you’ll build the skills needed for TruSat’s ultimate space sustainability missions.

By sharing your “mission log” of notes along the way, you’ll help us triangulate the biggest pain points in the process. This way, we can build the right tools to make satellite tracking easier for everyone, allowing for a more distributed and resilient citizen sensor network.

What do I need to do?

Just follow the instructions here.

There’s no sign-up step required if you’ve already registered as a test pilot. If you haven’t yet registered, you can register by entering your email in the test pilot form at

If you get stuck, we want to help! Use this thread to ask us questions about any part of the process.

Go to Mission 1

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Just finished this mission and really enjoyed it. Anyone having trouble?


I’m having trouble, but only because the weather is so terrible. Clouds and rain for weeks. :artificial_satellite::telescope::no_entry::cloud_with_rain::cloud:

A nifty resource for planning observations is ClearDarkSky where you can get predictions of weather conditions that might impact your observations… here’s a site in Death Valley for example.


@ckuethe ClearDarkSky is good. I’ve also used which has iOS and Android apps as well. ClearOutside is a little easier to get forecasts for places that aren’t already registered in ClearDarkSky.

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Many thanks to our Test Pilot Mission 1 participants!

Your unique perspectives have been enormously helpful for our work to build an easier user experience for satellite tracking.

For those of you who still want to participate, we’ll still happily accept your submissions.

See the mission here

If you get stuck, we want to help. Feel free to post questions here.