# Linked Questions

14 votes
4 answers
21k views

### How to obtain UTC of the epoch time in a satellite TLE (two line element)?

I want to convert the epoch time of a TLE to UTC. At this moment I am less interested in explanations and history - I just want to know quantitatively, with certainty, how to convert. I'm confused ...
• 148k
21 votes
3 answers
26k views

### How can I plot a satellite's orbit in 3D from a TLE using Python and Skyfield?

I have obtained a Two Line Element (TLE) of a satellite in Earth orbit from Celestrak at https://celestrak.org/NORAD/elements/ and I would like to use it to calculate an orbit. How can I calculate the ...
• 148k
12 votes
3 answers
1k views

### Why are Tiangong-1's Apogee and Perigee Graphs Wobbly?

The apogee and perigee graph of the Tiangong-1 space station, about to re-enter and break up Real Soon Now, is depicted in this graph (source: Wikipedia): Why are the graphs wobbly? Is it because the ...
• 1,696
8 votes
2 answers
2k views

### Is SGP4 propagation necessarily more accurate near the epoch chosen for TLE generation?

This interesting answer includes a quote from Space-Track: From Space-Track.Org FAQ TLEs can contain future epochs. About 20 satellites are categorized as "multi-day objects" because ...
• 148k
6 votes
2 answers
3k views

### Differences between SGP8 and the standard SGP4? Is it ever used in practice?

The Wikipedia article Two Line Element Set says: The SGP4 model was later extended with corrections for deep space objects, creating SDP4, which used the same TLE input data. Over the years a number ...
• 148k
5 votes
2 answers
1k views

### Sun-synchronous satellite orbit propagation

I'm trying to propagate the orbit of a sun-synchronous satellite. The initial data is defined by the TLE. The orbit of the satellite is controlled by the operator ...
4 votes
3 answers
1k views

### Is the amount of accurate information in a TLE equal to that of a single state vector?

My question is basically regarding whether there is orbital information "lost" when converting from a Two Line Element set (TLE) to a state vector. Given that the following are true: I have a TLE, ...
• 43
5 votes
1 answer
4k views

### TLE SGP4 Coordinate Transformations

I am working on developing a user friendly SGP4 orbit propagator in C on a PIC24. I have extensively read Revisiting Spacetrack Report #3 and celestrak - there are a few outstanding questions I have. ...
5 votes
2 answers
764 views

### Why are Keplerian elements used in TLEs instead of Cartesian state vectors?

Propagating a state vector seems easier, you just account for the gravity, change the velocity and update the position. It also allows to easily apply perturbations, etc. Additionally, the ...
• 525
4 votes
2 answers
1k views

### Has a TLE ever been issued for a spacecraft trajectory not bound to Earth orbit?

This excellent answer to the question Why has no TLE been published for the DSCOVR satellite and the Falcon 9 R/B? suggests that to the best of the writer's knowledge TLEs are only issued for ...
• 148k
7 votes
2 answers
570 views

### For any state vector of a satellite at an arbitrary time T1, is there another state vector at a given time T2 that will result in the same orbit?

I recently found the question In a 3D space defined by semimajor axis, eccentricity and inclination, what would be the shape of the space where SDP4 works better than SGP4? and have become interested ...
• 1,760
5 votes
1 answer
811 views

### Get dates when a satellite has performed maneuver from historical TLE data (python)?

I have been recently acquainted with orbital mechanics and am trying to do some analysis on the subject. Since I don't have subject matter expertise, I am at a crossroads with trying to decide that ...
5 votes
2 answers
353 views

### In a 3D space defined by semimajor axis, eccentricity and inclination, what would be the shape of the space where SDP4 works better than SGP4?

@BillGray's answer to Why can't custom-made TLEs for the DSCOVR launch booster in orbit around Earth work with SDP4? is quite interesting and informative; I fail to do it justice by summarizing it as ...
• 148k
3 votes
2 answers
345 views

### When calculating the future orbit of an artificial Earth satellite, is the Moon's gravity significant or insignificant?

Imagine a mathematician is plotting the future orbit of a satellite to be launched and put in orbit around the Earth. When they are making their calculation, is the moon so far away and the ...
• 359
8 votes
2 answers
434 views

### How to calculate the very special orbit of 2020 SO

From a NASA JPL page: Earth May Have Captured a 1960s-Era Rocket Booster Source (Sorry, I got an error when I tried to include an animated gif.) 2020 SO was captured by Earth's gravity on Nov. 8, ...
• 49.2k
6 votes
1 answer
333 views

### Is TESS really lost? What does Celestrak mean exactly?

From this answer to the question What artificial satellite has the farthest orbit around the Earth?: I found the following "far out" spacecraft: TESS (Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite)...
• 148k
5 votes
1 answer
863 views

### How can Earth-Centered Inertial (ECI) coordinates be properly called "inertial" if the Earth's orbit is always accelerating towards the Sun?

I've just realized (again) that I don't understand anything, something that often happens to me after reading a @DavidHammen answer. How can Earth-Centered Inertial (ECI) coordinates be inertial if ...
• 148k
4 votes
2 answers
449 views

### SGP4 on Systems Tool Kit (STK); how to check if SDP4 deep space correction is implemented?

I am doing orbit propagation for a geostationary satellite which requires the deep space corrections of SDP4. See my previous question SGP 4 for Geostationary Satellite. I am using SGP4 on STK, but, ...
• 583
7 votes
1 answer
432 views

### SGP 4 for Geostationary Satellite

I have read some sources that say that SGP4 is for satellite which have orbital period less than 225 minutes. For orbital period more than 225 minutes, we should use SDP4 instead. I need a ...
• 583
3 votes
1 answer
882 views

### Confused about SGP4 implementation published by celestrack

I was trying to understand how SGP4 computes the propagated position I had a look on the original publication paper but i have not found a satisfactory answer. So I had a look to the Matlab ...
4 votes
1 answer
205 views

### What is the current state of the art in converting between mean and osculating orbital elements?

I want to implement algorithms to convert from mean to osculating elements, and vice versa. I've been digging through Vallado's text (fourth edition), and under ...
• 215
2 votes
1 answer
176 views

### Why can't custom-made TLEs for the DSCOVR launch booster in orbit around Earth work with SDP4?

This fascinating answer to Why has no TLE been published for the DSCOVR satellite and the Falcon 9 R/B? presents links to custom-made TLEs for the Falcon 9 rocket body that put DSCOVR into orbit, and ...
• 148k
1 vote
2 answers
470 views

### Can the deactivated satellites also be tracked through TLE?

TLE is used to track whether the satellites are in orbit or not. However, is it possible that a particular satellite is deactivated, decommissioned or deorbited yet its TLE is being updated regularly?
• 19
7 votes
1 answer
279 views

### Textbook or scholarly discussion of equations used by the SDP4 part of SGP4 TLE propagators beyond Space Track Report #1?

(the famous) Space Tract Report #3 discussed at length in Dr. T.S. Kelso's Revisiting Spacetrack Report #3, AIAA 2006-6753 Describes the "deep space" corrections to the original SGP4 known ...
• 148k
1 vote
0 answers
383 views

### Cis-L2 Libration Point Halo Orbit

Queqiao became the first satellite to orbit the Cis-L2 libration point (far side of the moon). Link: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chang%27e_4 Does anyone have any insight on how to model this orbit ...