- Known Issues
- Currently, each update requires the user to re-enter the setup for
TLE Retriever. That is because .NET applications store the user
configuration in a different folder for each version. I am looking at
creating a standard Windows installation package that will circumvent this
problem, but I need to do more testing before deploying it. This approach
would also ensure that users have the required .NET 3.5 component libraries
- If you experience ANY problems with the program, please take the following
For Palm users: Since TLE Retriever 3 does not include an option to
generate Palm data files (due to time limitations on my part), you may wish
to check out Big
Fat Tail Productions, which contains Palm versions of several TLE data
sets. More importantly, they provide a Windows utility, tle2pdb,
along with source code in C and Perl.
- Open TLE Retriever.
- Check Enable debug logging. You will be asked to restart the application (click Yes).
- Run through whatever steps lead up to the problem.
- Select Help, Send Debug Log from the pull-down menu. The log
file directory will open and your mail application will launch.
- Attach the appropriate log file (each has a separate date/time),
include a description of the problem, and send it to me for resolution.
Version 188.8.131.52 (2014 Dec 18)
- While most users of CelesTrak seem to use Microsoft Windows, not all do.
I expect that once we have rung out any issues with the Windows version of
this program that I will begin developing a Java-based application which
will also run on Macintosh, Unix, and Linux platforms. For those wishing to
try a Perl implementation, please see Tom Wyant's contribution at
Version 184.108.40.206 (2014 Dec 18)
- Added a configuration item to specify which site to check for Internet
connectivity. The new setting is connectedURL. Previously,
http://www.google.com was checked, since it is a high-availability site. But
this setting appears to cause configuration issues for sites with tight
firewall restrictions. Now you can specify a URL which does not violate
these constraints. An obvious alternative would be to check
https://www.space-track.org, but if Space Track is down, this check would
suggest the problem was due to no Internet connectivity (a separate
issue). The default setting is http://www.google.com.
Version 220.127.116.11 (2014 Apr 09)
- Added configuration items to allow spawning a process other than
post.vbs at end of the run. There are now spawnProcessName and
spawnParameters settings to specify the application to be run and any
command-line options. If no path is given for the application, the
application is assumed to exist in the TLE Retriever directory. The default
setting is to look for post.vbs with no parameters. Please be sure to
carefully test any changes to these settings.
Version 18.104.22.168 (2013 Jul 10)
- Fixed Space Track login (under Web Sites).
Version 22.214.171.124 (2013 Mar 07)
- Added code to ensure that satellite names are 24 characters or less,
after JSpOC added one to the SSR with 25 characters.
Version 126.96.36.199 (2013 Mar 06)
- Fixed minor issue with leading zeros on satellite names for three-line
Space Track data being written to CelesTrak master TLE catalog.
Version 188.8.131.52 (2013 Feb 25)
- Fixed issue where CelesTrak.dat file age actually showed time since creation.
- Removed auto-update of CelesTrak.dat file since that overwrote current CelesTrak
settings. An ability to reset the file will be provided in a future version. Until
then, you can remove the CelesTrak.dat file at any time and it will be
recreated, but the CelesTrak settings will need to be reconfigured and
Changes from Version 2
- New version to support using Space Track's new web services API.
- Space Track bulk downloads are done using user-configurable queries. A
default set is provided, but you can create your own, too. Automatically
downloads from CelesTrak, if you get too creative (just delete the old
- The CelesTrak queries are built directly from the Current Data page.
That means new data files added to that page will automatically show up in
- Technically, there is no longer an SSR available from Space Track, so
the data format in this file is a pipe-delimited text file for easier
- Processing no longer needs to wait for the release of the bulk data
files, so TLE Retriever can be run at other times during the day,
hopefully reducing congestion on the Space Track site.
Version 184.108.40.206 (2011 Apr 28)
Version 220.127.116.11 (2011 Apr 19)
- Investigated issue regarding not being able to log into Space Track.
This may be the result of using reserved characters (as defined in RFC 1738)
in the Space Track credentials. At this point, I am unable to work around
this issue because Space Track is not handling escaped characters properly.
If you are having this problem, please contact me ASAP.
- Fixed bug for Auto Download which resulted in update interval not being set correctly.
Version 18.104.22.168 (2011 Apr 18)
- Fixed interval bug which prevented Auto Download from working properly on startup.
Version 22.214.171.124 [Beta] (2011 Mar 25)
- Fixed bug which prevented Auto Download from working properly.
- Added option to reset screen position and size from System Tray. If
application is off screen, minimize it to the System Tray, right-click the
icon, and select "Reset Screen Position."
Version 126.96.36.199 [Beta] (2011 Mar 24)
- Fixed bug which prevented three-line TLE data from passing validation
when running Process Data.
- Added shortcut for Help (F1) and hotkeys for pull-down menu options.
- Added additional text to post.vbs sample to explain how to get rid of
the pop-up after running Process Data.
Changes from Version 1
- Changed main form to allow resizing to support users using different
- Fixed cosmetic issue with the appearance of the About tab on Windows
- May no longer support Windows versions prior to Windows XP Pro
and Windows Server 2003. I no longer have any way to test these
- No Palm support.
- Proxy support is handled via Windows registry default settings.
- Auto update command line option is now "-auto" (not "-update").
Version 1.5.8 (2007 Oct 15)
Version 1.5.7 (2006 Mar 28)
- Added a key in the .ini file to allow users to bypass checking CelesTrak
for critical updates. This will at least allow downloading data from Space
Track if Internet connectivity issues are preventing a connection to
CelesTrak. While there haven't been any changes to Space Track requiring
a critical update for some time, users are cautioned to disable this check
only as a last resort.
Version 1.5.6 (2006 Jan 24)
- Added an option to disable the error message produced when Internet
connectivity is unavailable. This option will allow uninterrupted unattended
operation in the event of a temporary loss of Internet connectivity.
- Added list of WAAS, EGNOS, and MSAS satellites (the Satellite-Based
Augmentation System) under Navigation Satellites.
Version 1.5.5 (2005 Jun 03)
- Added list of Galileo satellites under Navigation Satellites.
Version 1.5.0 (2005 Mar 23)
- Added error check to prevent seek past end of file if objects are added
on CelesTrak or in user-defined data sets before they appear in the Space
Track data. This change supports enhanced automated processing on CelesTrak
to speed the addition of newly launched objects.
Version 1.4.2 (2005 Mar 17)
- Changed the proxy configuration interface to simplify it and make it
Version 1.4.1 (2005 Mar 11)
- Changed default Internet timeout value from 15 seconds to 60 seconds to
help some users avoid getting the Socket capture aborted error
message. This value is also stored in the .ini file, if you feel the need to
change it further.
- Added the ability to turn off automatic checking for a proxy server.
Some users appear to be having a problem because their Windows registry is
set to require a proxy server but is not configured properly. Now, you can
either manually turn off proxy checking or manually configure the program to
use settings other than those listed in the Windows registry (see
Version 1.4.0 (2005 Mar 10)
- Fixed problem with generating Palm .pdb files with more than 255 TLEs.
Version 1.3.11 (2005 Mar 08)
- Added a feature to check CelesTrak for critical updates before
attempting to perform any operations. If a critical update is required, the
program will notify you and then open the TLE Retriever web page in
your browser. This capability should prevent users from wasting time
unnecessarily trouble-shooting problems, such as the one caused by Space
Track that led to the release of Version 1.3.11.
- Improved timeout checking when attempting to log into Space Track or
download files. Some users were reporting that certain conditions caused
their program to hang when performing web access.
- Added ability to redownload corrupted files. This problem typically
occurs when attempting to access a corrupted catalog_*.gz file. While the
program reports that the file is unpacked correctly, the catalog_*.txt file
is not generated and a File not found error message is produced. If
this happens now, the user will be given the option to delete the corrupted
file and attempt to re-download it.
- Added the capability to generate Palm .pdb format TLE files. These files
(both CelesTrak and user-defined data sets) are automatically loaded in the
Palm Install Tool to be installed during the next hot sync.
Version 1.3.10 (2005 Mar 08)
- Corrected problem caused when Space Track made an unannounced change to
the HTTP header that is returned when a user successfully logs into the
site. The header change caused the program to think that the login had
Version 1.3.9 (2005 Mar 03)
- Added additional option for determining HTTP proxy server.
- Added Exit option to File menu.
- Fixed problem with not detecting changes made to Space Track and
CelesTrak data sets.
- Added capability to save form size on exit. This will mean that users
who need to resize the form only have to do so once.
Version 1.3.8 (2005 Mar 02)
- Added additional flexibility in determining HTTP proxy server.
Version 1.3.6 (2005 Mar 02)
- Added proxy handling features to the program.
- Fixed bug which seemed to result from the Abbrevia gzip software
when handling certain path names.
- Added some additional debug logging to aid in problem resolution.
Version 1.3.5 (2005 Mar 01)
- Added checking to ensure TLE data is available for each object in a
user-defined data set. If no data is found, no data will be output to the
data set. If debug logging is turned on, an entry for each object not found
will be entered into the log.
- Added timestamps for each item in the debug log.
- Fixed bug in calling post.vbs. While the program was looking for
post.vbs, it was trying to execute postprocess.vbs. I had
shortened the name to support systems which don't use long filenames and
missed this change.
- Included sample VBScript (sample.vbs) to demonstrate post
processing. When run, the script will pop up a box telling the user if a new
catalog or alldata file has been downloaded and then open up
newdata.log in Notepad (you should run Download Data first to
create newdata.log). Users should be able to run the script to see
how it behaves by simply double-clicking on it. Please be aware that your
system will probably ask you to approve running the script for security
reasons. To use the script with TLE Retriever, simply rename it to
post.vbs and place it in the directory with the program. When you run
Process Data, the program will execute post.vbs (if it exists)
at the end of that process. Hopefully, this will help users and software
developers get started developing their own scripts. For help with developing
VBScripts, I highly recommend
Version 1.3.0 (2005 Feb 26)
- Added an easier way to turn on debug logging.
- Added additional checks for other versions of Windows (e.g., Windows 98).
- Fixed problem with determining a satellite's common name for objects not
yet listed in the SSR. Earlier versions of the program may not be able to
properly generate the Last 30 Day's Launches CelesTrak data set.
- Improved positioning of the form on the screen to avoid having the form
off the screen when switching from dual-display to single-display systems.
- Added an ability to post-process data by executing a VBScript at the end
of the Process Data routine. This feature should provide users enhanced
flexibility to manipulate the data in support of other applications.
Version 1.2.5 (2005 Feb 25)
- Added option to generate Complete Catalog as a standard CelesTrak
- Added option to generate CelesTrak data sets with either .txt or .tle
- Cleaned up logic to determine whether program was ready to generate
CelesTrak data sets. Previously, it was possible to activate the Process
Data button without having the required data by changing the Space Track
Data Format choice.
- Added TLE Retriever version and configuration information into
the debug log.
Version 1.2.4 (2005 Feb 25)
- Removed the code supporting the temporary gzip workaround.
Version 1.2.3 (2005 Feb 24)
- Further tightened up operation of -update command-line option to
ensure it does not conflict with Auto Download.
- Fixed minor bug when asking whether to create shortcut in Startup
- Added preliminary code to determine specific Windows version and
hardware for troubleshooting purposes. Information is written into .log file
when Debug On=1. Also shows in About box.
Version 1.2.2 (2005 Feb 24)
- Modified the logic for running the program with the -update
command-line option so that it won't complain if Auto Download is
Version 1.2.1 (2005 Feb 22)
- The problem causing the error message "Catalog file is empty. Input file
was corrupt." has now been eliminated! This problem was only occurring for
users on the European continent. After extensive testing, I finally narrowed
down the problem to one call. As it turns out, users having the problem use
the convention of having a comma as the decimal separator for real numbers
rather than the period (as used in the US, UK, and Canada). Historically,
CelesTrak has performed very rigorous testing of all TLEs before releasing
them. This testing included not only validating checksums but ensuring every
character on each line was a valid choice AND performing range checking for
all numbers. The problem resulted when the code attempted to validate a
number from a TLE, such as 123.4567, when the decimal separator was a comma.
In those cases, the range checking failed on all real data and the program
aborted. This code has been extensively tested for use in the US and has
been used billions of times to check CelesTrak's historical archives of over
76 million TLEs. The Real_Value function now checks for decimal separators
other than a period and adapts accordingly.
Version 1.2.0 (2005 Feb 21)
- Eliminated I/O Error 103 when using three-line data (trying to close a
file not already open).
- Added full process logging when Debug On=1. All output is saved in
TLE Retriever.log. This should help users resolve problems more
- Added an option to allow users to decide whether they want to save their
Space Track account information in the .ini file. Requested for security
- Fixed login checking to trap failed logins.
Version 1.1.0 (2005 Feb 21)
- The problem with unpacking GZIP files has finally been eliminated!
Thanks go to Sebastian Stoff for helping me work through the solution. Now,
we have a single integrated solution. Hopefully this will resolve the issues
users in Europe have been reporting.
Version 1.0.5 (2005 Feb 20)
- Reduced desktop size of application to permit operation on smaller
- Added capability to build 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. If only the NORAD Catalog Number is
provided, the program will use the common name found in the Space Track SSR
file. Each [fname].query file will produce an [fname].txt file in the
Version 1.0.4 (2005 Feb 20)
- Added version information and feedback link to main page.
- Fixed bug which was not deleting leftover files in My TLEs
Version 1.0.3 (2005 Feb 18)
- Space Track has finally removed the #Start Epoch and #End Epoch lines
from the beginning of all files. TLE Retriever now checks to see if
these lines exist before discarding the data.
- Workarounds have now been added to address the two known unresolved
- A newer version of gzip.exe has been added to the distribution. It is
not known whether this will help with the existing problem.
Version 1.0.2 (2005 Feb 17)
- Added ability to schedule program to run once and close using -update
flag on command line.
- Added prompt before creating shortcut in Startup folder.
- Added checking for unsuccessful directory creation.
- Added checking to delete old data left in My TLEs folder.
- Added check for corrupt or incomplete input catalog file.
Version 1.0.1 (2005 Feb 16)
- Added query to save settings on exit if any changes were made to the
- Added user feedback link under Help|About menu item.
- Added error checking for unsuccessful data transfers and increased
status reporting on the status bar.
Version 1.0.0 (2005 Feb 15)
- Changed Auto Download to check for existing shortcut in
Startup folder before attempting to create it.
- Space Track TLE Retriever released.