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PREDICT-2.1.3 For Linux Released!



Hello Folks.

Today, I am releasing the latest and greatest version of PREDICT for
the Linux operating system.  For the first time, three graphical tracking
applications written by three separate authors have been included with
the program.  Some small bugs were fixed and MANY new socket commands
were either added or (in some cases) significantly changed.

Some of the changes included in PREDICT Version 2.1.3 include:

* Fixed several small math errors.  One goes back to some very old
  (and widely used) satellite tracking code!  Thanks to Jordi Mas
  for pointing them out and providing corrections.  Thanks also to
  Andreas Trotschel for pointing out an error in the size of the
  global output[] array.

* Portions of the MultiTrack() and SingleTrack() functions were
  re-coded for greater simplicity and to permit some new socket
  features to be added.

* Added many new socket commands:

	RELOAD_TLE:  forces a running version of PREDICT to
		     re-read its orbital database on the fly.

	GET_SUN:     returns the current azimuth and elevation
		     headings of the Sun.

	GET_MOON:    returns the current azimuth and elevation
		     headings of the Moon.

	GET_QTH:     returns the ground station's callsign, latitude,
		     longitude, and altitude above sea level.

	GET_VERSION: returns PREDICT's version number.

	GET_TLE:     returns Keplerian orbital data for a satellite
	             based on its name or object number.

	GET_TIME:    returns the current UTC date/time as reported by the
		     server in the form of the number of seconds since
		     00:00:00 UTC on January 1, 1970 (Unix Time).

	GET_TIME$:   returns the current UTC date/time as reported by
		     the server in the form of Fri Dec 22 22:37:05 2000.

	GET_SAT_POS: returns the latitude, longitude, azimuth and elevation
		     headings for a satellite at the time (or starting and
		     ending times) specified.

  The GET_SAT command now returns the current slant-range to the satellite
  (in kilometers), the satellite's altitude, orbital velocity, current orbit
  number, and sunlight visibility information in addition to the tracking
  data previously provided.  The "Next AOS" parameter previously returned
  has been changed to "Next Event Time", which corresponds to the Next AOS
  time if the satellite is not in range, or the LOS Time for satellites
  that are in range.  Geostationary satellites, or satellites in orbits
  that do not permit passes above the ground station return a 0 for
  "Next Event Time".

  The GET_LIST command now returns ALL the satellite names in PREDICT's
  orbital database as a single string, and must be parsed by the client
  to pull out individual names.  Earlier versions of PREDICT returned
  only one name at a time when the GET_LIST command was invoked.  In
  addition, satellite names returned by GET_LIST are now full-length
  strings, and are no longer abbreviated by the program in any way.

* The GET_DOPPLER command no longer echos back the name of the
  satellite for which the Doppler information was requested.

* The socket documentation and "demo.c" program were significantly
  updated.

* "demo.pl" written in Perl by Rich Parry, W9IF, is included to act as
  a template for those interested in writing client applications in
  Perl.

* The main program documentation was re-organized around a common
  document written in groff, thereby providing a system man page as
  well as postscript, PDF, and ASCII documents having identical content.
  The HTML documentation was eliminated.

* Added a new command-line option: -a  When followed by a serial port
  device (eg: predict -a /dev/ttyS0), PREDICT sends real-time tracking
  data to the serial port specified in the form of: "AZ241.0 EL26.0\r\n"
  when in the single satellite tracking mode.  Updates are sent
  as the values for azimuth and elevation change over time.  This
  feature is used to permit PREDICT to control an antenna rotator
  through an interface developed by Vicenzo Mezzalira, IW3FOL
  <mezzalira@pd.astro.it>.  Thanks to Vittorio Benvenuti, I3VFJ
  for contributing this code to PREDICT.

* Added a new command-line option: -f  When followed by a satellite
  name or object number, a date/time (in Unix Time), or a starting
  and ending date/time, the corresponding latitude, longitude, azimuth,
  and elevation headings of the satellite are returned by the program.
  This permits PREDICT to be invoked within other applications that
  need to determine the location of a satellite at a particular point
  in time, such as the location of where a CCD camera image was taken
  by a Pacsat satellite based on its timestamp. 

* Added a new line to the xpredict script to allow it to run under
  newer Linux distributions.  Users need to select (uncomment) one
  of the lines in the script depending on their termcap settings.

* Included the source code for the xforms-based graphical real-time
  satellite tracking display program "map" by Ivan Galysh, KD4HBO
  under clients/map.

* Included the source code for the GTK-based graphical real-time
  satellite tracking display program "gsat" by Xavier Crehueras,
  EB3ZCS under clients/gsat.

* Included the source code for "earthtrack", a utility that permits the
  real-time display of satellite locations using the "xearth" program.
  It is located under clients/earthtrack.

PREDICT Version 2.1.3 is a significant upgrade from previous versions of
the program.  Be advised that the socket command changes that went into
this version may "break" many previously written client applications.
However, all the socket command changes have been fully documented,
and sample code is included in the program, so it shouldn't be too
difficult to modify existing client applications to operate with
the latest version of PREDICT.

The new version of PREDICT may be downloaded from:
 
	ftp://ftp.amsat.org/amsat/software/Linux/predict-2.1.3.tar.gz

and in a few days should be also available from:

	ftp://ftp.metalab.unc.edu/pub/linux/apps/ham/predict-2.1.3.tar.gz

as well as many of Metalab's mirror sites.

A web page describing PREDICT is available at:

	http://www.linuxfan.com/~predict

Discussions as well as Q&A regarding the use of PREDICT software is
available at:

	http://www.kd2bd.org/

Happy Tracking and Happy GNU Year!


73, de John, KD2BD (Now taking a well-deserved rest!)  :-)

--
-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=- John A. Magliacane, KD2BD -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-
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