PetitTrack 1.2.0

Copyright (C) 2002 Edson Pereira

PetitTrack is a software tool for determining the position of earth satellite orbits in relation to an earth observer.

Before you use the software:

  1. Download a recent NASA Two Line ELements (TLE) file from CelesTrak or any other source.
  2. Edit the TLE file and remove any text besides the NASA TLE data (not needed if the file was downloaded from CelesTrak.) The maximum number of satellites that PetitTrack can support is limited to 50. This prevents long startup delays.
  3. The TLE file should be named nasatle.txt and should reside in /home/root/Documents on the Zaurus. Warning: PetitTrack will not start without the TLE file.
  4. Start PetitTrack by clicking on the PetitTrack Icon.
  5. Change the default geographical coordinates in the Config tab to your geographical coordinates. The geographic coordinates values are decimal. The Longitude value is positive for locations west of Greenwich and negative for locations east of Greenwich. The Latitude value is positive for locations north of Equator and negative for locations south of Equator. Altitude is in meters. Once you have entered your geographical coordinates, restart PetitTrack so that the changes can take effect.
  6. The NASA TLE file should be periodically updated to maintain accuracy for the calculations.

PetitTrack has the following tabs:

  1. Tracker - In this tab, the satellite position is displayed in a world map and some pass circustances are shown.
  2. Sky - The local sky positions for the selected satellite, the sun and the moon are displayed as well as the rise and set times for the sun and moon.
  3. Queue - The AOS and LOS for the current or next pass for the first 50 satellites present in nasatle.txt will be displayed. A '*' before the AOS cell means that the satellite is currently visible. The selection for the Tracker and Ephemeris tabs is made by clicking on the name of a satellite in the queue.
  4. Ephemeris - After a satellite is selected in the Queue tab, an Ephemeris table with AOS and LOS times for the next days can be calculated. The number of days can be selected by using the Spin Box at the botton of the tab. To perform the calculations, press the "Calculate" push button. The calculations can be interrupted at any time by pressing the "Stop" push button.
  5. Config - This is where you enter your geographical coordinates. In this tab you can also select three different types of maps for the Tracker tab and also configure the uplink and downlink frequencies for each satellite.


  1. At startup, PetitTrack will take several seconds to complete its initialization. Please be patient. The slowness is due to the fact that the Zaurus CPU does not have a floating point unit.
  2. You may want to edit the NASA TLE file and delete old and uninteresting satellites.
  3. The distance between ground track dots in the Tracker tab and in the Sky tab is 2 minutes.
  4. When calculating ephemeris, the calculations may take several seconds or even few minutes. Please be patient.
  5. If you encounter a problem running PetitTrack, do not hesitate to contact me. Although I have tested PetitTrack extensively, there may be things that may have scaped my attention. When submitting bugs, please include you geographical coordinates and your nasatle.txt file.
  6. PetitTrack is licenced under the terms and conditions of the GNU General Public Licence (GPL) version 2.
  7. Feedback and source code patches are welcome.
  8. New releases for PetitTrack can be found at
Thank you for using PetitTrack.

Last update: June 22 2003, Edson Pereira,