Tracking the Soyuz and the International Space Station


2010-12-13 - How and why do we track spacecrafts? Canadian Space Agency Astronaut Chris Hadfield explains. (Credit: Canadian Space Agency)

YouTube Video     Chris Hadfield mission website

Chris Hadfield: Kazakhstan. The town used to be called Tyuratam. Under President Yeltsint it was changed to Baikonur. This has been the site of all the Russian launches since Yuri Gagarin, since Sputnik. They've all been here, on the steppes, on the prairies of Baikonur, Kazakhstan, which carries on as far into the distance as the eye can see. As the Space Station and the Soyuz fly overhead, they're tracked from the ground. That's how we figure out exactly where they are in orbit. The most accurate of the Russian groundtrackers are here in Baikonur, Kazakhstan. They call it the Tyuratam site. Those are two of the big antennas pointed at the sky that track the space ships as they pass over, figure out all the mathematics, and then we can tell exactly where the Soyuz is, where the Space Station is, so that we can figure out how to fire the engines and do a rendezvous and a docking between them.