Satellite Related Software.
Satellite Prediction Software
If you want to set about generating your own predictions for observing then
naturally you'll need some software. What follows is a selection of software
for various platforms with a short description and a pointer to the package
There are also many utilities for non-prediction
purposes, such as managing files of elements, converting between different
types of elements, and extracting various information from elements.
Mike McCants' program uses two-line elements
to generate predictions which include an estimate of magnitude. It is text
based, reading the input parameters from a formatted file. A
not-very comprehensive magnitudes file is packaged with it.
Ted Molczan's IDSat assists in the identification of observed satellites, by computing and tabulating close appulses of known satellites relative to the observed time and position. IDSat also lists the direction of travel, angular velocity and estimated prediction accuracy. Subject to the availability of data, it can also estimate the predicted visual magnitude.
Ted Molczan's ObsReduce, is an MS Windows program for positional observers, that
reduces observations of satellites relative to the background stars, into their
precise coordinates. Observers identify their reference stars in a simulated binocular or telescope field of view, enter the observed geometry, and the program automatically
produces an observation report in any one of the
standard reporting formats.
- TrakSat 4.09
Paul Traufler's shareware
program TrakSat generates predictions from two line elements. It also
produces a graphical display of the ground track in various projections
and a plot of the pass against the local (star-filled) sky. Uses GUI
interface under MSDOS. Propagation models used are SGP4 and SDP4. The Home
Page for TrakSat
contains information about the latest version of TrakSat and allows a
trial version to be downloaded. The shareware programs WinTrak (for
Win3.1/Win95) and WinTrak Pro (for Win95/NT 4.0) are also described.
Alan Pickup produced a program that computes the decay and re-entry time
of earth satellites.
A simple text based prediction program authored by Robert Berger built
around the N3EMO code, available in the UNIX section below. Uses AMSAT format keplerian elements.
free program for DOS (Y2K compliant) generates text based predictions
using two line elements.
This Windows freeware program by Carl
Gregory generates a ground track graphic using two line or AMSAT
format elements. Able to manipulate element sets in the case of delayed
launches. Version 3.4 and earlier versions are also available at the author's web site. Note
that it needs the Visual Basic VBRUN300.DLL
The late David Ransom's program uses the SGP4 model to produce tabulated
predictions, orthographic views and ground tracks from two line or AMSAT
- Sky Chart 2000.0
This program is primarily a planetarium program but it can compute and
display artificial Earth satellites using standard TLE satellite files.
The PC version runs in 32-bit mode on Win95 and Windows NT.
Information regarding Nova for Windows (v1.0) and for DOS (v1.1) can be
found at Northern Lights Software Associates.
- Home Planet
John Walker provides a
combination astronomy and sat tracking program for Windows. Be sure to use
the nearest mirrored site for downloading the program. It's free !
- SatPro v1.6.0
This DOS program maintains its own satellite database of up to 20,000
sats. This allows the user to sort satellites into groups of their own
choosing. The database can be quickly updated from any TLE file including
the large files provided by Molczan, McCants or Thomson. The program can
fly up to 200 sats simultaneously.
- Satellite Tool Kit (STK)
Analytical Graphics (AGI) is providing this analytical software program as
Freeware. This large program (5.8 MB compressed) has features to help
engineers build and operate satellites. A large part of STK has an orbital
analysis suite. Registration is required. Orbital Report On-Line reports
that a free CD-ROM version is also available by calling 1-888-ASK-4STK
toll free (in North America), +44-181-299-3435 in Europe or
+1-610-594-6939 in other countries, or by sending an e-mail to email@example.com. AGI hopes to make its
STK software a reference tool for space industry worldwide.
- Iridium Flares
Randy John and Rob Matson have separately developed their own DOS programs
that will predict reflective flares from the Iridium satellites. The above
link will take you to their respective links and information on viewing
the Iridium satellites.
- Satellite Tracker
Brent Boshart has produced a freeware satellite tracking program to point
Meade's LX200. It is a 32-bit Windows 95/98/NT program.
Paolo Cosetti has developed
a Windows based graphical satellite tracking program. Details can be found at
- ORBIT 1.1
Alexander Churenkov has developed
a Windows based graphical ballistic simulator program. The program allows the
physical principles of the motion in the gravitational field of the Earth to be
demonstrated and learned.
Tom Sylvester developed a Windows based graphical satellite prediction program. Details
can be found at his website.
- Orbit 1.0a
Sebastian Stabroth's small visual satellite tracking program for Windows found at his website.
- Orbitron 2.41
Sebastian Stoff's visual satellite tracking program for Windows reportedly includes Iridium flare predictions and is found at his website.
Manfred Bester maintains a web page for commercial versions of Sattrack.
free program for LINUX (Y2K compliant) generates text based predictions
using two line elements.
Dave Curry's public domain satellite tracker is an X-based satellite tracker which draws maps of various world regions and plots satellite ground tracks, complete with timestamps. xsat also produces a list of visible orbit passes for a given city, with extensive information on altitude, azimuth, and time. It can also produce a PostScript file which gives a hard copy of all displayed information.
Actually this is C source code suitable for the core of a prediction
program. Available from any comp.sources.misc archive, volume 11.
- Usat 1.01
A Unix compatible satellite tracking package.
- PocketSat3 for
the iPhone and the iPod Touch
- PocketSat+ for
the PalmOS and the Pocket PC
for the Pocket PC palmtop and Windows CE computers using Windows CE 2.11 or above
Spotter contains an implementation of the NORAD SGP4 & SDP4 satellite
orbit models, in order to give visibility predictions for any orbiting
object for which NORAD two line elements are available. Features include
real-time position display (either textual, in numerous reference frames,
or graphically with projection onto a world map), ground track plot
generation, and element editing capabilities, for the purposes of
education. The author is Stuart
Martin and the current distribution is freeware.
Satellite Related Utility Software
- Element Manager for
Rick von Glahn developed a Windows 32 bit program that requires Windows 95/98 or NT. It is designed to
manipulate NASA/NORAD "two line elements".
small DOS program provides the longitudinal order of geosync satellites.
Ken Ernandes MS/DOS program
converts a state vector (position, velocity data) to a two line element
set. Can also re-epoch elements or accommodate on-orbit maneuvers. Free
for amateur use.
Ulli Hanke has provided a
Windows program (62.4 kbytes) to correct your Windows' PC clock
automatically. For observations in darkness KeepTime generates audible time
signals and messages read from a textfile with time and text to speak. The
clock correction runs on Windows 3.x/95/98/ME, the speech function should
run on all Windows versions.
Additional pages for obtaining satellite prediction software can be found at
the Tracking Programs and TLE
Resources page, and the
Other Satellite Orientated Information page.
Link to the VSO Home Page.