I have added a new page to the Earth orbiting satellites section of Murmurs from the Earth…Whispers from the Sky. Passive Tracking of Satellites using only Range Data continues the project started several years ago to study the Doppler shift of satellite radio beacons. The page describes a method to determine the ground track and other information about the position of a satellite as it passes over three ground stations recording the satellite radio beacon.
While I am certain that this has been done in the past and replaced with other techniques, I developed the method and Python scripts from scratch, to the extent that is possible…obviously I scavenged code and ideas from wherever I could to make a lot of the cranks that needed to turn. I used a very simple geometric approach.
Lacking actual data I generated four artificial and hence, internally consistent data sets using the PREDICT pass prediction software that provide the range input data and the location check data. I was quite pleased with the initial results.