How to add the ATV4 orbit data to Stellarium

(English version – see also French version)

ESA’s ATV-4 Albert Einstein was successfully launched yesterday and is now orbiting Earth for nine days prior to its automated rendez-vous with the International Space Station.

As for each satellite, it has TLE (Two-Line element) data publically available and it can be downloaded from celestrak.com for example : http://www.celestrak.com/NORAD/elements/tle-new.txt

To import it in Stellarium and be able to see when and how Albert Einstein will soar over your head, the procedure is a little bit unintuitive, so here it is:

Open Stellarium, and choose Configuration Window, Plugins.
1

Select the Satellites plugin, then click on Configure.

2

Select the Sources tab, then click on the last URL displayed, then on the Plus sign (the editable URL should be replaced with “[new source]”.

3

Paste in the http://www.celestrak.com/NORAD/elements/tle-new.txt URL, and validate with Enter.

4

Select back the Settings tab, and click the Update Now button.

5

This is the part I didn’t figure out at first: new satellites don’t get automatically displayed! You must now go the Satellites tab, and click on the Plus button on the lower right corner.

6

Search for ATV, select it and click Add.

7

Back in the list, click the Orbit checkbox so that its trajectory is easy to see.

8

You can now close all configuration windows, and enable Satellites view in the bottom toolbar.

9

Navigate to the time you want, and here it is!

10

You can find when the ATV-4 passes over you on heavens-above.com or NASA Spaceflight website.

Clear skies!

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