RE: orbital planes of iridium satellites

From: Ted Molczan (
Date: Sat Oct 14 2006 - 22:53:02 EDT

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    Tom Asked:
    > How can I look at a TLE and tell which iridium satellites are 
    > in the same orbital plane? I hope to do a 'Ctrl F' and look
    > for a particular parameter.
    At any given epoch, coplanar satellites have the same RAAN (right-ascension of
    the ascending node). Celestrak provides a collection of Iridium 2-line elements
    at nearly same epoch:
    The epoch is the third value on line one of the elements; the RAAN is the third
    value on line two.
    By inspection, you can see that most of the RAANs are clustered near a few
    values, as expected.
    Ted Molczan
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