Space Track TLE Retriever Help

Version Now Available!

Version 3 is needed to use the web services API on the new Space Track since 2013 February 20

Version is needed to support changes in TLS ciphers in Space Track 3.0 made 2018 September 10

Version is needed to support removal of TLS 1.0/1.1 on Space Track made 2019 August 1


As a service to the satellite user community, CelesTrak provides the Space Track TLE Retriever—a tool which allows users with an active Space Track account to easily download Space Track data sets and use them to generate standard CelesTrak data sets. The Space Track TLE Retriever is a standalone Windows-based application which can be run manually, as needed, or set up to automatically download and generate CelesTrak data sets. All downloaded data is automatically archived for the user.

Latest Version

The latest version of the Space Track TLE Retriever is Version (2019 Jul 24). You will also need the Microsoft .NET Framework 4.7.1 Runtime, if you do not already have it installed. Information on bug fixes, known bugs, workarounds, and future enhancements can be found in the Update History.

Download Space Track TLE Retriever 3


The Space Track TLE Retriever consists of three major parts:

All settings can be saved from the File menu for future use.

In its simplest form, once the user has selected which Space Track data sets to download, they need only click Download Data to check for and download all new user-specified files. To generate CelesTrak data sets, the user then simply clicks Process Data. All CelesTrak data sets are quality-checked and formatted to the community-standard TLE format, as has been the practice with all data published on CelesTrak for decades—using the latest Space Track data. These files should then be immediately ready for use in existing applications which currently rely on CelesTrak data sets.

Important Notes

Specific detailed information on how to use the Space Track TLE Retriever is provided below.


To install the Space Track TLE Retriever, simply extract all of the files into any directory. Then double-click on TLERetriever3.exe to run.

Pull-Down Menus

Processing Tab

Space Track Tab

CelesTrak Tab

About Tab

The About tab contains basic information on the current version of TLE Retriever, the specific version of the Windows operating system being used, and the CPU being used. This information, along with screen resolution, is included in the debug logs for diagnostic purposes. There is also a link to launch the user's mail client to send feedback.

Status Bar

Status for the program will be shown in the status bar at the bottom of the application. Status includes showing when the program is accessing Space Track or downloading or processing files. It also includes warning messages which indicate when data files necessary for processing are not available. These status messages should also indicate the status of the program should an unexpected error occur and are included in the debug log when "Enable debug logging" is checked on the Processing tab.

User-Defined Data Sets

Users may create as many data sets as desired by creating files of the form [fname].query and placing them in the My TLEs\User folder. Each .query file should contain a line for each object which consists of the NORAD Catalog Number followed immediately by the common name (please be sure that each line ends with a carriage return and that there are no blank lines at the end of the file). If only the NORAD Catalog Number is provided, the program will use the Space Track Common Name. Any objects which are not found in the current catalog will be omitted. Each [fname].query file will produce an [fname].txt or .tle file in the My TLEs\User folder.

Command-Line Option

Users may run TLE Retriever on an as-needed basis by running the program with the -auto command-line option. That is:

TLERetriever3 -auto

Doing so, the program will begin executing five seconds after loading, attempting to download the Full Catalog along with any other user-specified Space Track data files, and then generating the user-specified CelesTrak data sets, if any. The user should ensure that the Space Track username and password information have been entered previously, that Retain username and password is checked, and that the settings have been saved prior to executing via this method. The program will terminate after all processes have been completed. This should allow users to schedule TLE Retriever to run as required in support of other software applications. Users may schedule TLE Retriever using the command-line option via Windows Task Scheduler/Scheduled Tasks.

VBScript Post Processing

Several users have expressed a need to be able to perform additional processing in support of existing software applications which may expect data in specific locations or require some other form of post processing. TLE Retriever checks for the existence of the file post.vbs in the same directory as the program, whenever it completes Process Data. The program also writes a file named newdata.log, which contains the full path name of any Space Track data downloaded the last time Download Data is run. Users may create their own post.vbs file to handle additional post-processing needs (a sample is included with the program for illustration purposes, just to show that it is running). CelesTrak will provide links to scripts developed by software developers to help them tailor their applications for their users.

Combined with the command-line option described above, these features will allow users to easily configure TLE Retriever to run on a scheduled basis (e.g., using Windows Task Scheduler/Scheduled Tasks to automatically download Space Track data sets, generate CelesTrak data sets, send e-mail notifications, and/or then prepare those files for use with their existing satellite tracking applications.

Program Shutdown

The program automatically saves the position of the form and information on the latest Full Catalog and SSR on shutdown. It will also query the user to save other settings if the form has been changed since the last time these settings were saved.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)