Sat Tracking Tips & Tricks

There’s no one right way to track a satellite. Share what tips & tricks have made tracking satellites easier for you here.

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As a long time member of SeeSat, and an analytical astronomer, this is interesting. I already track satellites but might use your IOD formatter to send observations in.

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Hi Charles! Welcome to the TruSat Community! Glad to hear we’ve intrigued you. If you run into any troubles formatting your IOD, please let us know. Feel free to share any feedback you have as well as you work your way through the platform.

Hi Charles, welcome to the community! Building TruSat to it’s potential will depend on the participation and insights of experienced satellite trackers like yourself, and so we’re delighted you’re here.


I consider myself to be a beginner but fast learner. But excited to learn, contribute through this platform. Additionally, I am very interested how DAO’s, with objective proportional profit sharing mechanisms, could effect and direct spacefaring, and space economy, thereafter.


Brian - I produce observations only in the winter (I live in Houston, Texas where the seeing is terrible) and sadly think that your directions for producing observations (timing the passage between two known stars) is inadequate. I take photos and use SAO software and the to get observations. This takes a lot of knowledge to get running.

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Thanks Charles, we are about to add instructional materials for a digital photography workflow. Would you be amenable to sharing your process with photographers unacquainted with satellite spotting to help them get up and running?

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Hi Jai, you’ve come to the right place! We are exploring DAO-like structures both in the context of TruSat’s roadmap, as well as a mechanism for funding and governing space missions.

Why don’t we make nano satellites that dip into the stratosphere from time to time and then re-enter the orbit?

These satellites do not have to be in a fixed orbit and nor do they have to come back to the ground.

Satellites can rest on a blimp/aerostat/modified weather balloon floating in the stratosphere with some kind of resting station/hook.


Brian - I am always happy to share my workflow in hopes of getting more people involved; I hope that your site helps. I am a bit skeptical but my colleague Scott Tilley is more skeptical than I am. I am hoping to use your IOD formatting to send in observations (I have a rough bit of software in C++ but am typing by hand).

I also have no intention of making this a profit making effort. I am hoping to get money from the National Science Foundation to build a satellite that we can all track.

Could we take a part of the discussion onto email? Could you or someone there write me at charles at spaceflightresearch dot net?

Then we could summarize back to this forum?



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I was quite happy to read Chris Lewicki’s email about the next phase of Planetary Resources. Satellite and orbital debris is reaching critical levels, and tracking it precisely will be lucrative, especially as humans go into orbit commercially, and will give entrepreneurs experience navigating to coordinates to grasp and deorbit objects. So, the initial goals of asteroid mining will be realized in the long run. I have been following the work of U of Texas researcher Moriba Jah, and his ASTRIAGraph big data analytics gathering information on the orbits of spent stages and other equipment. TruSat seems to get its information from similar sources, but using a different framework. I’d like to see other responsible actors using this data not only for avoidance, which is costly & propellant-dependent, but to clean vulnerable orbits, which creates value.


Hi @czubad - Good to hear! We’re reasonably close to each other in Washington state, we should get together and sat watch sometime.

Hi @CharlesHouston ,

I’ll send you a note to discuss workflow. I’m just getting started myself, but have managed to make observations with sattools/stvid – interested to learn your opinion of what tools could help make the process incrementally easier.

Sure. I’m actually in Alger. In any event, I work at Cascades Job Corps, and recently had one of the NASA Solar System ambassadors come up from the Museum of Flight to give a talk to our students.

Citizens tracking small objects in space… hmmm… curious this is…

I am no expert, but one thing that comes to mind is to subscribe to events from like organizations like ITU, FCC and other similar, which could inform (by publishing an event) about the deployment of a satellite, the end of life of it, or a collision event etc… which could potentially be observed by TruSat and track it appropriate. This is just a broad stroke and it requires a lot of infrastructure to be built and have the industry comply to a set of standards.

I was very excited to hear about this initiative, looking forward to learn and contribute. thanks to all those who made this possible. :blush:


Maybe there can be a dna printer in orbit, which prints different machines (made out of DNA) that perform different purposes. Like cameras of different kinds, nano beam guns that shoot particles and measure when particles bounce back at a particular rate or refract/deflect (from shields that could be setup). If a particle is shot and it bounces back/is deflected at a certain rate, then there is some obstruction. Then you can have a process of elimination setup, for you to be able to hone in on the object of interest. (Like when you are sniffing for packets and want to ignore icmp and other packets and just get to the signal)

I believe that circuits can be enabled using DNA.

If we can get tinier machines to work, then we should be able to scan a larger territory with greater precision. With the added benefit of leaving very little trace behind (mostly dust). As DNA should decay into dust. Maybe, we can get DNA to bind other ingredients with it and make nano-bio materials and then power other vessels (Which we can then use to map out other real-estate across the solar system and to begin with)

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Today I made a preliminary observation of satellite Nadezhda 3, passing via Canis Major constellation at 4:15 am. Unfortunately, didn’t record any useful data. Will do it from next time.


When I first read about DNA and Genome, I was fascinated to learn that DNA folds (inside the nucleus of a cell) in its place such that it gives instruction on how to carve the various parts of your body. The folds of DNA for ears, eyes, toes, fingers etc… are different and interpreted by a cell through the same mechanism. Its more of a subtractive mechanism (like wood carving) than additive (like 3D-printing).


Interplanetary, I’m in Alger. This week is a good one for sat watching, but bad for me because I’m working on a doctoral dissertation, which might consume the rest of my life.