Prediction software

The main aim of the FUNcube project is provide educationalists access to information about a real spacecraft in Low Earth Orbit. Please use this forum to discuss classroom projects and similar matters. FUNcube support is provided elsewhere in the forum.

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Prediction software

Postby g3vzv » Mon Nov 25, 2013 11:59 pm

We have been asked for advice about the "best" prediction software to calculate "when will the spacecraft be above the horizon of my school/college" etc.

We hope that a full set of resource information will be soon developed for schools on this and many other subjects as we realise that there will be many newcomers for whom all this seems very complicated!

In the meantime, here are some possibilities.

There is an online resource which can used

For stand alone use, we may suggest "Orbitron" as being one of the simpler to learn, but many others have different views!

There are also a number of apps for Android devices and IPhones and IPads
All of these will need some configuring to be accurate for your location and time zone. It will also be necessary to select the correct satellite and to keep the orbital data (known as TLEs two line elements - up to date)

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Re: Prediction software

Postby Lauriston » Tue Nov 26, 2013 2:21 am

Hi, Graham.

At Lauriston Girls' School in Melbourne, Australia, we have been using Orbitron, which shows clearly the approaching satellite and lets us know where in the sky to point the antenna. We also use its Doppler shift calculation to tune our separate receiver.

Now we are also using an iPad/iPhone called Satellite Tracker. This has been developed locally here in Melbourne by Susan VK3ANZ. The advantage of this app is that it has a compass and tilt feature, so our girls can see clearly where to point the antenna.



Teacher of Physics and Science
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Re: Prediction software

Postby g4dpz » Tue Nov 26, 2013 8:41 am

On Android you can use AmsatDroid. It's advantage is that all calculations are done on the phone snd does not rely on an internet connection to download predictions. It is developed by one of the FUNcube team.


Dave, g4dpz
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Re: Prediction software

Postby g0mjw » Wed Nov 27, 2013 9:08 pm

Why not calculate the passes for the next week for a few choice UK locations and post them here and recommend listeners use the closest to them. For example:

Upcoming passes for 2013-066B
Observer: Central, Coventry, United Kingdom
LAT:52.37 LON:-1.48
AOS TCA LOS Duration Max El AOS Az LOS Az
2013/11/27 22:05:29 2013/11/27 22:12:15 2013/11/27 22:19:01 00:13:32 63.80 172.73 344.11
2013/11/27 23:44:36 2013/11/27 23:49:39 2013/11/27 23:54:42 00:10:06 9.26 228.40 326.33
2013/11/28 09:49:58 2013/11/28 09:55:39 2013/11/28 10:01:19 00:11:21 17.16 26.41 151.19
2013/11/28 11:26:10 2013/11/28 11:32:35 2013/11/28 11:39:00 00:12:49 63.52 11.52 205.02
2013/11/28 13:03:18 2013/11/28 13:08:17 2013/11/28 13:13:16 00:09:57 11.02 359.47 257.60
2013/11/28 19:19:39 2013/11/28 19:23:42 2013/11/28 19:27:45 00:08:05 5.59 81.48 6.00
2013/11/28 20:52:29 2013/11/28 20:58:52 2013/11/28 21:05:15 00:12:45 31.06 135.09 353.04
2013/11/28 22:28:40 2013/11/28 22:35:17 2013/11/28 22:41:54 00:13:14 39.71 184.85 340.86
2013/11/29 10:12:43 2013/11/29 10:18:48 2013/11/29 10:24:53 00:12:10 26.87 22.10 164.91
2013/11/29 11:49:11 2013/11/29 11:55:26 2013/11/29 12:01:41 00:12:29 39.39 8.67 217.22

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Re: Prediction software

Postby g4dpz » Wed Nov 27, 2013 10:16 pm


We could do it in the warehouse. I already have a web service to do it and only need to plug it in and do a bit of UI work.

I'll add it to the growing list :-)

- Dave
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Re: Prediction software

Postby G3VDB » Sat Dec 07, 2013 4:51 pm

As someone completely new to satellites, I too was interested in prediction software. I have downloaded Orbitron and found it straight forward to use.

Ham Radio Deluxe (HRD)

Along with its extensive features for digital modes and SSTV, HRD has a satellite orbit prediction module called HRDSatTrack, This does prediction, doppler correction and (with another component), rotator control. [I have not tried the last two functions]. By default, HRDSatTrack updates the TLE files at hourly intervals, though you can set that to something less.

I still use the old free HRD version 5 (V5.24.38). A problem is that the free version of HRD is no longer available from the current owners of the software [HRD Software LLC]. V6 the current version is chargeable to pay for further development. N0UN has an earlier free V5 version available. If anyone wants V5.24.38, I can make it available, but it is a 96MB download.


I found a useful feature of Orbitron is the "Simulation" setting. This allows you to re-run a previous pass. You can then compare the satellite position with an RF/IF/AF recording of the pass from the Funcube Pro Plus and HDSDR, and find, for example, the elevation at which the telemetry signal appears and disappears. I found (for daylight mode) it is just discernible on the waterfall at about 2 degrees above the horizon even on totally unsuitable antennas. This gives me confidence that those trying this for the first time should be able to get some good decodes on passes with a good elevation. [You do have to have the TLE for the simulation time still available and loaded].

If you replay recordings, I should avoid leaving the dashboard running with upload enabled, in case you upload historic data - the effects on the Warehouse database are not known to me.

I trust that is useful to someone. It is fascinating me!

Jim, G3VDB
Jim Evans
Chelford, Cheshire
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