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Project description

SatMAD: Satellite Mission Analysis and Design

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SatMAD is an open source Python package, aiming at providing the base functionality to solve satellite mission analysis and design as well as orbital mechanics problems with enough precision and performance to be used in the design and operation of real satellites. The target audience is academics and amateur satellite community, including Cubesats (and anyone else who might be interested).

The focus is on good documentation and good test coverage to produce a reliable flight dynamics library.

Current functionality is:

  • Loading a list of TLEs from file
  • Initialising an orbit with a TLE or Keplerian Orbital Elements
  • Propagating the orbit analytically via the SGP4 propagator
  • Propagating an orbit numerically via the Scipy ODE Solvers (two-body force model) around the Earth or another planet
  • Occultations, shadow geometry and illuminations finding
  • Good infrastructure for time interval management and event finding
  • Harnessing the extensive Astropy functionalities (e.g. finding azimuth and elevation over a ground location and coordinate frame transformations)

Documentation and Examples

The documentation for SatMAD is here:

As a quick-start, you can find some hands-on Jupyter examples in the tutorials directory (or in the documentation for a text version).

In addition, there is a repository of how-to guides and analyses in a dedicated project called SatMAD Applications, available at Github (for Jupyter notebooks) and in plain document format.

Installing SatMAD

The SatMAD package is on PyPI and you can install it simply by running:

pip install satmad

You can also install it via conda-forge:

conda install -c conda-forge satmad

Do not install satmad using sudo.

You can find the source code on GitHub:


  • NumPy and SciPy are used for the underlying mathematical algorithms
  • Matplotlib is used for plots
  • Astropy handles all time and reference frame computations
  • PyERFA handles lower level coordinate and time transformations
  • Portion handles the time interval mechanics
  • Sgp4 provides the TLE manipulation and SGP4 propagation engine
  • Jplephem for JPL Ephemeris calculations
  • Pytest provides the testing framework


This project is Copyright (c) Egemen Imre and licensed under the terms of the GNU GPL v3+ license.

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