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Re: Help: TLE data

Kenneth Mankoff wrote:
> I have a few months worth of TLEs (Two Line Element sets) from NASA. I
> know that this data describes everything there is to know about an
> orbiting craft, and i know what the different fields of each TLE refer to.
> What I would like to do is plot the craft's position over the time-period
> of the data that I have. Not just the altitude vs longitude or something
> like that, but have an image (or time-lapse animation) of a globe, and the
> craft moving around the globe. The only thing that would be unrealistic is
> that I would have to magnify the body of the craft a bit so that it would
> take up a few pixels around a globe that would fit on my monitor.
> This is analogous to the solar-system simulator at JPL
> (http://space.jpl.nasa.gov/), or the NASA J-Track3D page
> (http://liftoff.msfc.nasa.gov/RealTime/JTrack/3D/JTrack3D.html). Of
> course, what i am attempting to do is simpler, more specific, less robust,
> one-time usage, etc.
> I am wondering if anyone knows of any software (preferably IDL code) that
> can help in this in any way, even just a small part of the problem.

There are several options for computing the spacecraft orbit. Here's a

TrakStar (Windows/MSDOS, free, straight-forward, well tested)

Predict (Linux, free)

Satellite Tool Kit (Unix/Windows, base version is free)

Unless someone offers you some very well tested code for computing the
orbit, I'd use one of these non-IDL packages. Once you have computed the
spacecraft position vs. time, you could certainly use IDL to display