Linked Questions

15
votes
3answers
12k 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://www.celestrak.com/NORAD/elements/ and I would like to use it to calculate an orbit. How can I ...
13
votes
4answers
13k 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 ...
12
votes
3answers
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 ...
8
votes
2answers
385 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, ...
7
votes
2answers
948 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 ...
6
votes
1answer
257 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)...
5
votes
2answers
720 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 ...
5
votes
2answers
441 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
1k 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
2k 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....
4
votes
3answers
410 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, ...
4
votes
1answer
256 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
145 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
60 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
192 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 ...

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