Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Tracking satellites

I've always had a passing interest in tracking satellites. For over 10 years I've had STSORBIT PLUS Space Shuttle and Satellite Tracking Software by David H. Ransom, Jr. installed on my computer to bring up once in a while, particularly during Space Shuttle missions. However, it's kind of antiquated and requires manual fetching of the current orbital data ("TLEs" or "2-Line Elements") to use it.

Similarly, in my earlier post on using XPlanet to generate current satellite wallpaper I discuss how to build a dynamic wallpaper which shows satellite tracking over the current earth image (with current cloud cover) but it also requires fetching the TLEs.

However, now it appears I can drop STSPLUS in favor of an Ajax enabled online version which has lots of nice features and utilizes Google maps for the mapping.