Re: Satellite Tracking Software

Earl Needham (
Mon, 23 Nov 1998 21:51:32 -0700

	Well, guess what?  My new ISP is apparently on a list of known spam sites.
 Or something -- this is the third time in about a week that I have had
mail refused.  Sending again from my OLD ISP.


At 02:14 PM 11/23/98 EST, wrote:

>reading reviews and looking at the websites does not replace
>talking with people who have "hands on" experience with different

	I use STK.

>I am looking for a package that will provide me with both tabular listings
>a given date/time period (an ephemeris type)

	STK does this quite nicely.

>and a sky track map format
>(something along the lines of the J-Pass NASA site) that provides assistance
>in actually visually locating the target satellite.

	STK won't do this, but instead gives a ground track.

> It must be compact enough
>to fit onto a laptop and be PC compatible (Windows 95).

	I believe STK will fit on a laptop.  It's available in PC or UNIX versions.

>I have some questions concerning the programs already available.  Will they
>work in the new millenium?

	Yes, STK is all set to go.

> Is one package more accurate than others (given
>the same set of orbital elements?

	I believe this relates to what propagator you use -- SDP4, SGP, whatever.
STK has several available.

> Any comments about rapidity of loading,
>calculating, etc?

	STK can quite quickly load down a Pentium processor.  My 133 can take an
hour or longer to make a calculation of 100+ satellites.

> What about ease of use?

	STK has probably the steepest learning curve I've ever experienced in any
software.  And I'm including the time I spent in Computer Science 225 in
1973, learning programming from scratch.  But -- STK offers FREE training
in the basic program.

	STK used to cost some $9,000.00 US.  The basic program is now free, and
can either be downloaded or a (free) CD ordered from

	I'd suggest you at least take a look, but remember the learning curve is
very steep.  The program is meant for people who make their living working
with satellites.


Earl Needham, KD5XB    mailto:KD5XB@AMSAT.ORG
Clovis, New Mexico	DM84 N34.403 W103.334