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This template allows orbital trajectory data to update in space station articles automatically. Data from the Heavens-Above website is written into the template by the bot called PALZ 9000 about twice a day. Palz is offline, and the last edit to the template was 5 years ago on Thursday 2 November, 2012 at 11:40, it is now 08:40 on Tuesday.


The orbits of all artificial satellites change constantly, but for GEO and MEO satellites, the change due to factors such as the gravitational forces of all planets and moons, solar winds, and magnetic forces is slow. Any artificial satellite passing within about 500 to 600 km of Earth will be particularly affected by the Earth's atmosphere, slowing the satellite and quickly changing its altitude, velocity, orbital period, and other parameters.

Altitudes of space stations change by amounts of more than 1 km a month, so this template offers an easy way to keep information up-to-date. For satellites in the public spotlight when they are about to re-enter the atmosphere, such as Fobos-Grunt, you should refer to templates that I haven't written as yet! I can add the data to this or another template upon request.

Example 1, altitude[edit]

The following text gives an example of data for the ISS. This template contains valid data for the International Space Station (ISS), OPSEK, Tiangong-1, Genesis I, and Genesis II. To use this ISS example for a different station, change the bold text to the name of the station.

For this example text:

  • Perigee 402 km (250 mi) AMSL (02 November 2012 epoch)
  • Apogee 424 km (263 mi) AMSL (02 November 2012 epoch)

Cut and paste this wikicode:

  • Perigee {{convert|{{ISSIB|ISS|perigee_height}}|abbr=on|km}} [[Sea level#AMSL|AMSL]] ({{Str crop|{{ISSIB|ISS|epoch}}|9}} [[Epoch (astronomy)|epoch]])
  • Apogee {{convert|{{ISSIB|ISS|apogee_height}}|abbr=on|km}} [[Sea level#AMSL|AMSL]] ({{Str crop|{{ISSIB|ISS|epoch}}|9}} [[Epoch (astronomy)|epoch]])

Example 2, orbital period[edit]

Calculating the orbital period: edit this documentation to view the wikicode.

15.51130572 revolutions per day from the Heavens-above page, divide 24 hours by 15.51130572 revolutions equals 1.54725852441 hours, times 60 minutes per hour equals 92.8355114646 minutes, using the first two digits of that string to get 92 minutes, multiply the remainder of the string by 60 to get 50 seconds.

This calculation code gives an orbit time of 92 minutes and 50 seconds for the 02 November 2012 epoch.

Doing the citation[edit]

The reference for the data used in this template is done with this code on the main mention

<ref name="heavens-above-Palz-tle-data">{{cite web|url=http://www.heavens-above.com/orbit.aspx?satid=25544|author=Chris Peat, Heavens-Above |title=ISS orbit|accessdate={{ISSIB|ISS|access2}}</ref>

and then with this code on the subsequent mentions <ref name="heavens-above-Palz-tle-data"/>

It gives the following result:[1]

  1. ^ Chris Peat, Heavens-Above. "ISS orbit". Retrieved 2 November 2012. 

Date formats available[edit]

{{ISSIB|ISS|access_date}} gives 20121102114607

{{ISSIB|ISS|access1}} gives November 2, 2012

{{ISSIB|ISS|access2}} gives 2 November 2012

{{ISSIB|ISS|access3}} gives Thursday 2 November, 2012

{{ISSIB|ISS|access4}} gives Thursday November 2, 2012

Other data available from this template[edit]

Other information is provided; edit the template to view the options available.