Tracking Falling Rockets With Gpredict

Install gpredict, either from PureOS store or with sudo apt install gpredict in terminal.

Edit Menu > Update TLE Data From Network > Update Transponder Data (Edit: I’m only guessing that this is necessary.)

Edit Menu > Preferences > Modules > Layout (and other desired options)

File Menu > New Module > Create name, e.g. 48275 (NORAD ID of decaying Chinese booster)

Satellites > Search “48275” > Add “CA-5B R/B” > Click OK

Tracking position of Chinese rocket booster in real time (while it’s still up there, at least):

And as a reminder, this also works on the Librem 5, and presumably on the Pinephone. (Needs scaling down a bit.)

I’m not sure why the position doesn’t show on the map at the moment. It’s now missing on my laptop screen, too… And I don’t think the debris has fallen yet! (Edit: Possibly have to add a different ground station…? Default is Copenhagen.)


I think it is down. Fallen into Indian ocean. Must have been around 4 o’clock am today. At least that’s what the news from yesterday evening told about prognosis of experts. So you seem to saw it disappear. Congrats :smiley:

It would be so cool if I could have shown this live on my Linux phone to my family.


Purism should make a Librem Satellite. Then we can turn around the surveillance and track “them” by satellite. And who knows, maybe we can find the location of some CPUs this way. :smile:


Actually, the icon disappeared from my screens several hours before it impacted. I noticed at one point that “Visibility” had changed to “Eclipsed,”, so maybe it was out of view of the tracking station. In any case, this is a pretty cool application.

I was trying to improvise and quickly learn how to use it to track a particular object, so it could be that I missed something.

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China has several more launches scheduled in the coming months. Maybe you’ll have the chance to track another uncontrolled reentry!

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I’ve read that, took but only a minority of the launches for the Chinese space station will be with this big rocket with uncontrolled reentry.

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