Satellite Programs

From: Scott Campbell (
Date: Sun Apr 04 2004 - 18:44:56 EDT

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    I am a new member so this message may be irrelevant, outdated, out of place,
    or all
    the above.  If so, please advise me by email.
    I would like to begin to share some ideas with those among the group who
    programs pertaining to satellite tracking and orbit determination, unless
    all the
    software that needs to be written has already been written.
    I was thinking that I needed a program to determine satellite orbits from
    observations with no prior knowledge of the satellite.  So I wrote one that
    calculates an orbit from two or three observations on a single pass. I call
    Elfind.  Does something like this already exist or is it unnecessary?
    Then I thought it would be nice to improve the new orbit from subsequent
    by the differential correction process.  The differential correction
    programs that
    already exist correct the mean elements.  This process seems inherently
    requiring lots of user input. Almost an art form.  I was looking for
    something more
    automatic.  Maybe we could try correcting the components of the state
    vectors, or
    correcting the osculating elements. But both of these approaches would
    require the
    capability to determine mean elements from state vectors as the SGP4/SDP4
    would still be used to propagate the orbits.
    The capability to calculate mean elements from state vectors (or osculating
    already exists in the program vec2tle, but a general algorithm was not
    available (at
    least I couldn't find it).  So I got to work and discovered it.  I call it
    Work is now progressing slowly on the two differential correction approaches
    mentioned, but perhaps other, more experienced programmers could arrive at a
    sooner.  With rv2el we can also advance a tle to any epoch and compare
    elsets to
    obtain satellite identification.
    Just throwing out some ideas here.  Is anyone interested in working on this
    stuff, or
    am I way out of touch?  What programs are currently being used to do these
    Who are the analysts among the group?  Can we improve the process?
    Respectfully submitted,
    Scott Campbell
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