Track Overhead Satellites with This QtPy Detector

QtPy Satellite Detector
(Image credit: OkuboHeavyIndustries)

A lot is happening in the world around us that we can’t easily see, some of which is manmade. This project, created by a maker who goes by OkuboHeavyIndustries on Reddit, has created a way to tap into such mystery using a QtPy board. This clever project lets you see which satellites are orbiting right above you in real time. You could replicate this project using the Raspberry Pi version, the QtPy RP2040, but OkuboHeavyIndustries uses the original QtPy module.

A few extra components are necessary to pull off the project. It has a couple of screens to output data pertaining to your location and overhead satellite details. Secondly, a GPS module is necessary to grab your current location. Once it knows where you are, it uses this information to determine which satellites are presently gliding past you overhead, unseen in the sky.

The first screen provides details about the current passing satellite. The second screen offers a bit more information. Not only does it plot your current location on a world map, but it also estimates the satellite's orbital path so you can see where it’s been and where it’s going.

OkuboHeavyIndustries was kind enough to share a detailed breakdown of what hardware you need to make the project at home. As mentioned above, it’s powered by a QtPy module connected to two screens. In this case, OkuboHeavyIndustries is using two SSD1306 OLED displays. A BN-280 GPS module is used to grab your current location.

The satellite detector is more of a satellite estimator. It uses your location to check a list of satellites that totals in the thousands—over 7,500, to be exact. The QtPy estimates its current position and checks it against your current location. If the satellite is determined to be more than 70° over the horizon of your location, it will alert you to its presence and share details about it on the displays.

Check out the original project thread shared on Reddit to see this project in action. OkuboHeavyIndustries was also kind enough to share the code used in the project over at GitHub. If you’re into microelectronics projects, check out our list of best Raspberry Pi projects to see more awesome creations from the maker community.

Ash Hill
Freelance News and Features Writer

Ash Hill is a Freelance News and Features Writer with a wealth of experience in the hobby electronics, 3D printing and PCs. She manages the Pi projects of the month and much of our daily Raspberry Pi reporting while also finding the best coupons and deals on all tech.