Orbital Elements for space craft

Jeffrey C. Hunt (jhunt@eagle1.eaglenet.com)
Wed, 27 Mar 1996 08:00:44 -0500 (EST)

There are at least two (I'm sure more) astronomy programs that allow you to
simulate orbits for space crafts (Pioneer, Voyager, Galileo, etc.) as well
as comets, asteroids, Kuiper Belt objects.  I know nothing about the
program Voyager but I am familiar with "Dance of the Planets" by ARC Inc.
ARC has a web site at
http://www.arcinc.com
There you can find some orbital elements (not compatible to sat tracking
programs) for simulating their present and predicted location in space.
The elements consist of eccentricity, semi-major axis, perihelion distance,
orbital inclination, longitude of ascending node and argument of
perihelion.  I recently found orbital elements for the NEAR space craft at
http://marswatch.tn.cornell.edu
which took pictures of Hyakutake on March 24 and 25 on the opposite side of
the Earth's vantage point.  The program really gives you a great
perspective as to where objects are located with respect to the Earth.

On a different topic:  For those not able to follow the EVA on Mir/Atlantis
via NASA TV, Florida Today has some good up to date accounts at
http://www.flatoday.com/today/index.htm
Regards,
Jeff Hunt <jhunt@eagle1.eaglenet.com>