Questions tagged [two-line-elements]

Set of values carefully prepared to be used together with a simplified perturbations model (most often SGP4) to predict satellite positions with a moderate level of accuracy for times near the epoch contained within the TLE.

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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 ...
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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 ...
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Where can i find ELSETS with Co-Variances?

For Special Permutations (I'm a novice), an ELSET with covariance is more accurate than without covariance. A TLE doesn't have room for any covariance. However, I can't seem to find a catalog that ...
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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 ...
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How (the heck) are military satellites with (apparently) classified TLEs still showing up on sat map websites?

As I first noted in this comment I couldn't get TLEs for the recently launched OFEQ-11 spy satellites from space-track.com. When I looked at Search Resuls: OFEQ 11 Satellite details 2016-056A NORAD ...
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Is Vallado's Revisiting Spacetrack Report #3 still relevant today?

The title pretty much sums it up. I am reading David A. Vallado's Revisiting Spacetrack Report #3, which was published in 2006 and includes source code for the SGP model series. I was wondering, is ...
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How do cubesat owners first find out their cubesat's initial trajectory? How do they point antennas at it before official TLEs start to appear?

When cubesats are first deployed it can sometimes take several days before they start appearing in official TLE distributions, and even then if many were deployed it may take a lot more work to decide ...
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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 ...
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What is the “+” symbol for the drag term encoded in a TLE?

I have two TLE, the drag term for the first TLE is -26868-1, which I suppose equals to -0.026868. But on the second TLE, we have ...
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What is/was legacy TLE ephemeris type 2? (TLE, line 1, column 63)

Wikipedia's Two-Line Element Set entry for line 1, column 63 (1.12) says: Ephemeris type (internal use only - always zero in distributed TLE data)13 13Celestrak Frequently Asked Questions: Two-Line ...
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Determine orbit type from TLE

I was wondering if, and how, one can tell from the values in a TLE whether an orbit is LEO, MEO, HEO, or GEO. I'd like to do this in code eventually, so any formulas or threshold values would be much ...
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Will the new “TLE format” be orbitally-mechanically better than traditional TLEs?

Celetrak's A New Way to Obtain GP Data (aka TLEs) by Dr. T.S. Kelso 2020 May 27 explains the arrival a new infoblob format that in several ways is "better" than the ancient TLE, and contains ...
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TLE filtering techniques to remove the mean motion/eccentricity/inclination outliers

I am working on a TLE filtering code to prepare the TLE series for orbit propagation. I am using a sliding window approach with meadian+ n*mad or IQR to detect the outliers in those orbital elements ...
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TLE on path to be deprecated - what is 9 digit?

The TLE format will soon run out of numbers. The US Space Force is implementing an Alpha 5 scheme where the first byte of the NORAD_ID will be a letter giving nearly 400,000 numbers. After that a 9-...
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How do SDP4's “Deep space” corrections to SGP4 account for the Sun's and Moon's gravity?

The Simplified Perturbations model SGP4 is used to calculate Earth satellite state vectors (position and velocity) using standard ephemeris data encoded as TLEs (Two Line Elements). According to ...
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How to get semi-major axis from TLE?

This should be fairly straightforward, but, how do I get the semi-major axis (a) from at TLE. For example if I have the TLE: ...
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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 ...
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Second derivative of mean motion as indicator of deorbit

I noticed that the second derivative of mean motion (SDMM) is non-zero for only a small percentage of the NORAD catalog. All those objects I checked have reentered since the TLEs I was using were ...
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Why did the frequency of TLEs for the Hubble Space Telescope drop by a factor of 3 in 2009?

I noticed that the TLEs for the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) are posted almost twice a day. Then I looked back in time and saw that this rate varies quite a lot! The plot shows the time interval ...
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Where can I find a satellite/space debris database with object masses

The title pretty much says it all. As far as I can tell the default method by which space debris objects are tracked/stored in a database is using two line element sets. However these have no way to ...
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Obtain archived TLE data

Now I'm achieving the up-to-date TLE from the celestrak.com and tle.info However, for some analysis in the past, I need old TLE files, to make my calculations more accurate. Is there a way to obtain ...
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How would blockchain be integrated into spaceflight? Have any methods been proposed yet?

Blockchain offers a way of keeping track of information such that its authenticity can be verified and it can not easily be falsified. In a space environment with an increasing number of both active ...
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Why is the NORAD Catalog number of SpaceX's Starlink's “Darksat” both 71130 and 44972?

@BowlOfRed's answer to Which of the recently launched Starlink satellites is the coated one? links to Celestrak's supplemental table for Starlink. https://celestrak.com/NORAD/elements/supplemental/...
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How do two-line element sets handle rev numbers > 99,999?

In a two-line element set (TLE), five characters in line 2 -- columns 64-68 -- are for the rev number. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Two-line_element_set) But some satellites have been around the ...
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How can I plot satellite's trajectory from three different TLEs to detect any deviation on path with time?

I have obtained TLE information of a satellite from space-track.org for three different times. I am trying to study any deviation of the satellite trajectory from its usual path. Here I am comparing ...
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What would be a “big picture” understanding of how the orbits of Earth satellites are monitored?

In preparation for another question, I typed "keeping track of satellites in orbit" into a search engine, and found a website called keeptrack.space which has a ...
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How can I plot a satellite TLE from its orbital parameters using python and skyfield? [closed]

I have a function that uses TLEs (Two-line elements) from Celestrak to plot the visibility of a satellite in Python. Is there a method with skyfield or poliastro to plot a TLE from given orbital ...
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What caused the ISS Two Line Element Day of Year problem beginning 12-24-2019?

Does anyone know happened at NORAD or NASA or wherever the published TLEs originate, that caused the ISS TLE wonkiness during the last week of 2019? It did not happen in 2018. What happened? The ...
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Are SpaceBEEs actually hard to track?

The IEEE News article FCC Accuses Stealthy Startup of Launching Rogue Satellites focuses mostly on the intrigue addressed in the question What checks are supposed to be carried out to prevent illegal ...
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How does the SpaceBEEs' experimental passive radar reflector work?

My Question: What is the nature of the "experimental passive radar reflector developed by the U.S. Navy’s Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command"? How does it work, and why does it work for ...
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What is “OBJECT BS”?

I checked 2018-099 in Celestrak's satcat again for the question Where can I find the TLE of ExseedSat 1, India's first ever private LEO satellite? and noticed that ...
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What caused so many objects in Earth orbit to “go NEA”? (no elements availabe)

T. S. Kelso tweeted the following, is this a case of lost and found? How can so many substantial objects become lost like this? The list of 23 objects "formerly known as Prince NEA" all seem ...
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Why are there some NORAD catalog IDs larger than 80000 in space-track?

I was trying to find the international designator for the Starlink-2 constellation launch. Not finding anything in Celestrak I looked in Space-Track. The following space-track.org query builder setup ...
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Generating TLEs with STK Using SGP4 Propagator;

STK has two methods for generating TLEs; Trajectory Sampling method and Single Point method. I have read the differences both of them at http://help.agi.com/stk/index.htm#stk/tools-10.htm but I am ...
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Where is this LightSail-2 trajectory data coming from? Is there more than TLEs available to the public?

This tweet shows high granularity data for LightSail-2's perigee and apogee, showing that while the apogee-raising strategy is working nicely, currently atmospheric drag is taking its toll and the ...
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Covariance matrix of a satellite position

In order to estimate the probability of collision with space debris, the covariance matrix of the primary and secondary objects should be calculated (JSPoC paper). I'm going to calculate the matrix ...
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Why does 2018-099 (SpaceX, December 2018) still have a dozen unidentified payloads?

According to today's Raw SATCAT Data from Celestrak, the launch designated 2018-099 (SpaceX, December 2018) still has twelve unidentified payload objects! ...
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How can I “debounce” these TDRS satellite inclinations? (reconstruct the zero-crossings)

The plot below is from the question Why do the geosynchronous TDRS satellites have this distribution of inclinations?, and the explanation says Inclination and mean motion (rev/day) for TDRS ...
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Distance between GRACE-FO 1 and 2

I calculated the distance between the two satellites by propagating some TLEs with the SGP4. Here’s the result: the solid lines are for TLEs 19197.90524586 (GRACE-FO 1) / 19197.90551489 (GRACE-FO 2) ...
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How to correctly make a fake, counter-propagating TLE?

In this answer I have said: Do not make FAKE TLEs! I would now like to make a fake TLE. Specifically I'd like to generate a counter-propagating "twin" of an orbit by flipping inclination by 180° ...
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Are there publicly-available non-amateur sources of TLEs other than Space-Track?

As an amateur satellite tracker, and sometime reentry analyst, I am always anxious to get the newest tracking data for low-orbiting spacecraft. I have had to rely exclusively on Space-Track for the ...
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How frequent do TLEs of LEO satellites change?

I was doing some MATLAB simulations on LEO satellites using TLEs obtained from n2yo websites and I observed that n2yo was displaying a different TLE for the same satellite after a few days. I don't ...
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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)...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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How to generate TLE file?

Subsequently to this answer: What is the way of generation of TLE file for a satellite? How to deal with BSTAR drag term, mean orbital elements, etc.? The generated TLE will be used as the input for ...
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Elevation and Azimuth of satellite in different location

I know the Elevation and Azimuth of the a specific GPS satellite (I have the RINEX files of the station in a specific Location 4.4801,-73.3433; in order to calculate this), but I want to know the ...
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Has IBEX “gone dark”?

I'm having a difficult time finding information on the Interstellar Boundary Explorer's (IBEX) orbit. Unless I've made some kind of error, the TLE's have stopped at TLE epoch ...
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CSpOC’s identical TLEs

Identical TLEs are often published by CSpOC at https://www.space-track.org/. For example, here’s the first line of the three newest TLEs for IRNSS-1H: ...