The Satellites plugin simulates satellites in Earth orbit. Satellite orbits are not very precisely predicted using the existing orbital models for the planets, as there are other factor involved - irregularities in the Earth's gravitational field, lunar interactions, atmospheric drag and so on.
This plugin implements the SGP4 and SDP4 models, and takes as it's input data NORAD TLEs (two line elements). TLEs for hundreds of satellites are available online and are regularly updated.
Using the Satellites plugin
Note that this plugin is still in the early stages of development, and may change quite a lot in the near future. This description apples to version 0.1.1 of the plugin.
- There is a tool bar button which can be used to toggle the display of satellites.
How you can help
Some specific things for non-programmers:
- Create a really complete module.ini file.
- All the amateur satellites should have all their comms channels listed for all active satellites. Also include modulation information, which is currently missing for most spacecraft.
- All scientific craft should be added
- Please no military spacecraft
- Find a list of URLs which link to TLE data for all satellites in the new module.ini file. Please verify that the owners of the sites are OK with re-distribution of their data under open source licenses.
- Someone draw a nice icon for the left menu (for a GUI dialog).
- Suggestions and so on.
For development tasks, see the TODO list, which is maintained in the README file for the plugin. If you are able to help with any item in this list, please contact the Stellarium developer team via the stellarium-pubdevel mailing list.
We also welcome bug reports, feature requests and feedback through the usual channels (trackers, forums and so on).