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Improving Visualization at GEO

By: Alexander Ridgeway

A geostationary satellite’s orbit is circular at an altitude of approximately 36,000 kilometers which makes the satellite transverse one orbit every 24 hours. This is the same amount of time the Earth requires to rotate once on its axis, which makes the vehicle appear nearly stationary in the sky as seen by a ground-based observer. This orbit is an excellent location for communications. One reason is that ground based antennas can point towards a single part of the sky to send or receive a signal, making these antennas cheaper to produce and install, e.g. Satellite TV’s widespread low cost receivers.

The majority of GEO satellite operators use STK for their missions in some way. In my time supporting these GEO operators, I found a way to improve the visualization of these GEO satellites from the defaults.  This method however requires 50+ setting changes, report generations, and modifying many properties.  Since STK has an open API with both Connect and Object model, I wrote a simple Matlab Script that does this for you.  It utilizes the Connect Commands and Object Model.

Check out this Knowledge Article to find the list of all the properties I changed and the connect commands used in this script.

Operators interested in High Quality GEO data, please visit the Commercial Space Operations Center to subscribe to High Definition Ephemeris for your GEO (and LEO) Satellites.

Posted: 12/26/2016 11:06:55 AM