Re: UNIX satellite tracking programs

Mark A. Haun (
Sun, 28 Jul 1996 10:06:56 -0700 (PDT)

Joe Dellinger writes:
> 	Why is it that all the amateur satellite tracking programs are all
> DOS/Windows based?

Because hype and market influence promote mediocrity above technical
excellence, hence the popularity of Microsoft operating systems :)

Actually there is a very nice Unix tracking program called SatTrack, by
Manfred Bester -- see 
Besides the usual world-view tracking mode and text based prediction
abilities, it also comes with some nice TLE management scripts.  A 'gettle'
script run weekly from cron FTPs the latest element files from various sites
and collates them together into a master TLE file.  I never have to worry
about it!

For those fortunate enough to be running Linux, a somewhat dated a.out
binary-only distribution of Quicksat is available for anonymous ftp from in the /pub directory; thanks to Mike McCants for his
permission to make this available.  Hopefully Unix will become a supported
platform in a future release (hint, hint!).  I use this with a Perl script
run nightly from cron which generates the control file, runs a prediction
for bright satellites in the Walla Walla, WA area, and updates my web page
with the output (  It would be
trivial to construct a full forms-based web interface to quicksat.

Hope this helps,