"Instant Tracking of Satellites Using Visual Observation"

Manhal M. Awda1, Talib H. Kadori2 and Aref S. Baroon2

1Ministry of Science and Technology
2Babylon University


The orbital elements for objects that circulate in orbits around the earth were obtained by means of visual observation method.

The Visual Observation System was developed to specify observation angles (Azimuth Elevation) with accuracy less than (0.1), and increasing the pointing accuracy by connecting refractor telescope to the observation device designed especially for this work.

Also a computer program has been constructed using visual basic language to input the observations directly and targeting standard points relative to Polaris so as to calibrate each observation and achieving the required analysis needed.

Laplacian method was used to compute the position and velocity of observed object (r, ѓ) by using three sequential observations of Azimuth, Elevation and Time, and then calculating the six orbital elements (eccentricity, semi major axis, time of perihelion passage , inclination, right ascensions of ascending node, argument of perigee) to predict the orbital position at any time . To assures the results, a selected satellites was chosen with known orbital elements, and comparing the observed results with that of the satellite.

Orbital objects were observed using the observation system and orbital elements were determined. The error percentage that resulted in computing each orbit element was extracted and a mathematical correlation was obtained. The error percentage range in computing the orbital elements was between (0.006 to 14.4). The maximum value of the error percentage was found in calculating the eccentricity of the orbit, while its minimum value was at the right ascension of ascending node.

Further work was done to obtain the expected position of the object directly from the program on real time bases and comparing the results when the satellite really reaches that position.


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