Satellite tracking • HAM radio • ISS • Visual observing • Tracking software • Iridium flares • Satellite tracking at home

Orbitron - Satellite Tracking System

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Orbitron - Satellite Tracking System
version 3.71 - 2005.09.08 - Win 9x/Me/2k/XP/2k3/Vista

(C) 2001-2005 by Sebastian Stoff

Orbitron is Cardware!
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What is satellite tracking?
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2007.11.07: New Orbitron forum
2007.07.17: Dear Users...
2005.11.05: Web chat starts!
Orbitron 3.71, size: 2 MB
Site 1 - USA - Read me
Site 2 - Germany
Site 3 - Poland


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Orbitron is a satellite tracking system for radio amateur and observing purposes. It's also used by weather professionals, satellite communication users, astronomers, UFO hobbyist and even astrologers.

Application shows the positions of satellites at any given moment (in real or simulated time). It's FREE (Cardware) and it's probably one of the easiest and most powerful satellite trackers, according to opinions of thousands of users from all over the world. I'm still working on it, waiting for your opinions and bug reports. Please try it. If you like it - tell your friends about it and send me a postcard...

  • NORAD SGP4/SDP4 prediction models
  • 20 000 satellites can be loaded from TLE file(s) (auto: PC/Unix, 2/3 line)
  • ALL of them can be tracked at the same time
  • Sun and Moon tracking
  • Full-screen, presentation modes
  • Supported screen resolutions from 640x480
  • Real-time mode / Simulation mode (free time control)
  • Advanced passes & Iridium flares search engine (results printing)
  • Miscellaneous options of visualisation
  • Nightlife (dark color-scheme for night usage)
  • Orbit info
  • Notes for each object
  • Radar
  • Easy, flexible interface
  • Database of cities around the world
  • Database of satellite frequencies
  • PC clock synchronization via NTP
  • Internet TLE updater (with ZIP support) via HTTP
  • Rotor/radio control (built-in or user's driver support)
  • Windows screen-saver included
  • Translations supported
  • and many, many, more...

SYSTEM REQUIREMENTS (recommendations)
  • Windows 9x/2k/Me/XP/2003/Vista, Linux [with Wine emulation]
  • 150 MHz processor (300 MHz)
  • 16 MB RAM (32 MB)
  • 5 MB free space on hard drive
  • 640x480 screen resolution (800x600x16 bit)

3.71 / 2005.09.08
  • Bulgarian noitalsnart added
  • installer upgraded (more languages during installation)
  • other fixes and updates

3.70 / 2005.08.11
  • Catalan noitalsnart added
  • Ukrainian and Slovak snoitalsnart updated
  • true anomaly and object's constellation name output in Data panel
  • help and databases updated
  • other fixes and corrections

3.60 / 2005.07.12
  • Korean and Macedonian snoitalsnart added
  • World Magnetic Model updated to epoch 2005
  • Message Board improved
  • other small features, updates and corrections

3.53 / 2005.06.02
  • problem with Japanese noitalsnart fixed

3.52 / 2005.06.01
  • Romanian and Japanese snoitalsnart added
  • 1 Hz precision for defining frequencies
  • IgnoreCRC - new command-line parameter
  • TLE file with unofficial data for classified objects included
  • other updates and corrections

3.51 / 2005.04.12
  • data and snoitalsnart update

3.50 / 2005.03.23
  • full support for TLE update
  • limit of objects processed at the same time expanded to 20 000
  • profile saving options extended
  • Finnish and Slovak noitalsnart added
  • new command line parameters (RunDriver, Silent, Minimized)
  • new data panel layout
  • improvements in Rotor/Radio panel and drivers support
  • other improvements, data updates and lots of bug fixes

What is satellite tracking?

The first artificial satellite was put in the space on October 4, 1957 by the Russians. It was named Sputnik 1, and spent 92 days in Earth orbit. Since then man has launched thousands of rockets, and put thousands of satellites in orbit. There are more than 8000 objects in orbit now, including operational, non-operational, rocket bodies, and debris. They are orbiting at an altitude from 150, up to several thousands kilometers. For more than ten years people have been able to track satellites on a computer using satellite tracking software like Orbitron.

Due to predictable conditions of satellite movement in space (lack of atmosphere) computer software can calculate a satellite's position for given moment. Calculations are done based on known orbit parameters determined at epoch. Known orbital parameters like inclination, eccentricity, argument of perigee, mean motion (revolutions per day), let us track satellite for a reasonable period of time after epoch. Orbital data for each object is grouped, and distributed as a Two Line Element (TLE) file.

To keep tracking software working precisely, one should update elements periodically. For low orbiting objects (altitude less than 500 km) TLE data should be updated every few days. For higher orbits, you can update your TLE every few weeks. Other important things include making your predictions as close to real time as possible by using time synchronization, and the precise coordinates of your location.

You must remember that TLE data for an object that has maneuvered since the last elset is no longer any good. Updating is most important for satellites like Progress, Soyuz, and the Space Shuttle which maneuvers often (docking, deorbit, changing of orbit).

Why do we track satellites? There are several reasons. One might want to observe (even with the naked eye) ISS passing over their home or brilliant Iridium flares. Radio amateurs use satellite tracking software to obtain the best pass for QSO with another radio amateur. Such software can help you with your hobby, and will help you understand more about Astronomy, and Physics.

So even if you're a beginner, don't hesitate to download satellite tracking software like Orbitron. Change your home into mission control center!

Remember, satellite tracking is the easiest ever with Orbitron!

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Satellite tracking • HAM radio • ISS • Visual observing • Tracking software • Iridium flares • Satellite tracking at home • International Space Station