[AZ-Observing] Re: ISS/STS-121 pass -- Freeware to track it

  • From: gene lucas <geneluca@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: az-observing@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Fri, 07 Jul 2006 23:11:19 -0700

Heavens-Above is a great, convenient free source of satellite pass 
info.  You can select any worldwide location, and even customize for a 
favorite place.  Gives the predicted Iridium flares, too.  (Probably the 
best URL for that.)

A good "freeware" to download for tracking and predicting satellite 
passes is STS-Plus, by Dr. David Ransom of Sedona.  It allows you to 
display a track map (projected on the Earth's surface) for any given 
satellite, using the updated TLEs (Two-Line Elements, the Keplerian data 
needed to calculate an orbit).  This is a DOS program that was 
originally written for NASA's command centers.  It opens up on your PC 
in a Windows menu, works great.  I have used it effectively with the 
public Astronomy Day display at the Arixona Science Center for a number 
of years.

It also features an "alarm" mode that will "beep" when the selected 
satellite comes within range.  Also allows computing the proper 
doppler-shifted radio frequencies (for ham radio communications).

Here's the URL:

There are multiple web sites listed there for downloading the TLE 
ephemeris data.  (Note that any tracking program will need updated TLEs, 
especially for the Space Shuttle (which maneuvers, of course).

Have fun!
Gene Lucas

Rick Tejera wrote:

>You can get the most current orbital elements from Heavens-Above. 
[older stuff snipped, to please the NET NANNY -- I always get bit by 
over-quoting!!  GAL]

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