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Hello,

I work and attend graduate school in Boulder, Colorado.  My personal and 
professional interests include radio propagation, ionosphere dynamics 
and magnetosphere, ionosphere coupling.  I am very new to these topics 
and still smell turnips.

I am keenly interested in VHF beacons (e.g. VO-52), initially as a 
hobby.  I've even borrowed an ICOM that I have yet to figure out.  As 
part of my graduate curriculum, I am enrolled in an astrodynmics 
course.  The course requires a course project.  Until now, I have been 
dreaming up project ideas in nearly a vacuum.  My day job is as a civil 
servant (ionosonde data manager) and through that role, I've become 
accustomed to asking scientific and engineering communities, "what is 
needed?".  Thus, I would like to query this wonderful community 
similarly.  What is needed? 

I'll proffer a starting line of questioning to get the ball rolling.  
Given my interest in VO-52 and other VHF beacon LEO satellites, I 
realize that accurate positioning is detrimental.  I've been retrieving 
TLEs for two weeks now and in that window, VO-52 has had 2 updates with 
a 10 day cadence.  Is ~10 days the usual tracking priority for such 
satellites?  Are there already "good enough" techniques for filling the 
orbital element gaps?  Are there more sophisticated public domain orbit 
propagation algorithms just waiting to be tried out?  The dawn of a new 
solar cycle (24) is upon us.  How does will already employed prediction 
techniques stand up to the next solar max?

I'm happy to communicate off-line so as not to congest the mailing list 
traffic.  Equally, I'd welcome the opportunity rub elbows with any 
locals.  I have much to learn.

Regards,

Rob
p.s. I wrote a small program (Ruby) to grab TLE's from AMSAT 
<http://www.amsat.org/amsat/ftp/keps/current/nasa.all> to slowly build 
my own archive.  I could share if interested.

-- 
Rob Redmon - Physicist - Ionosphere
NOAA/NGDC
325 Broadway E/GC2
Boulder, Colorado 80305
Tel: (303) 497-4331
Fax: (303) 497-6513
Rob.Redmon@noaa.gov

"Engineering is the art of making what you want from things you can get." 

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