RE: Basic element calculation

From: Ted Molczan (
Date: Fri Nov 26 2010 - 14:04:43 UTC

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    Justin U wrote:
    > I've been tracking satellites for about a year now, using Orbitron as
    > my prediction program. I'm interested in determining the orbit of
    > satellites on my own, and would like to know the basic methods used to
    > calculate the orbital elements of a satellite through observations.
    > Please send me a link or explain if it doesn't inconvenience you.
    There are methods to estimate orbits of unidentified objects, and to update the orbits of known
    objects. The latter problem is the most common, and the method is called differential correction. I
    wrote some code for the latter a couple of years ago, and was aided greatly by David Vallado's book,
    Fundamentals of Astrodynamics and Applications. I especially appreciate that he provides algorithms
    and worked examples, in addition to the theory.
    Scott Campbell, who regularly posts positional observations to this list, has written quite a few
    programs and routines related to orbit determination:
    Ted Molczan
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