edit: A simple web search in Chinese may turn up something, but I don't know anyone personally who is both both fluent and interested in space exploration. This is a pretty cool orbit - there must be something somewhere!

I tried to find Chang'e-2 in the JPL Horizons database but couldn't find it. Since I had previously gotten data for Rosetta and Hayabusa just by typing their names, I didn't realize that those were unusual cases and it's pretty much only NASA missions there.

Chang'e-2 has had quite an interesting orbit. From Earth to Lunar orbit, then the first ever transfer directly from lunar orbit to Earth-Sun L2, then a flyby (within 3.2 km) of 4179, and now... where is it?

Is there any kind of numerical data available so I can reconstruct this in 3D?

I'd like to follow the orbit. Here are some updates from here:

Mission status:

  • As of 2015, the Chang'e-2 has reached a distance of over 100 million km from Earth.

  • In June 2014, the Chang'e-2 Probe is more than 90 million km away from the Earth, and is expected to fly back to a position 7 million km from the Earth in 2029.

  • On July 14, 2013, the Chang'e-2 Probe had reached a distance of 50 million km from Earth, marking a new height in the nation's deep space exploration...

enter image description here

above: From Hao et al. 2012 Chang'e-2 Satellite Lagrange L2 Point Mission 63rd International Astronautical Congress, Naples, Italy.

enter image description here

above: Artist's conception of Chang'e-2's orbit in space, from here

I found 102 spacecraft by asking Horizons for a list of spacecraft:

enter image description here

-399050  2015 PDC
-937001  2017 PDC
-651     ARTEMIS-P1 (spacecraft)
-652     ARTEMIS-P2 (spacecraft)
-399101  Apollo 10 LM (spacecraft) (Snoopy)
-399100  Apollo 10 S-IVB (spacecraft)
-399110  Apollo 11 S-IVB (spacecraft)
-399120  Apollo 12 S-IVB (spacecraft)
-399080  Apollo 8 S-IVB (spacecraft)
-399090  Apollo 9 S-IVB (spacecraft)
-86      CH1
-82      Cassini (spacecraft)
-150     Cassini Huygens (spacecraft)
-151     Chandra Observatory (spacecraft)
-40      Clementine (spacecraft) [DSPSE]
-78      DSCOVR (spacecraft) [Triana]
-203     Dawn (spacecraft)
-140     Deep Impact Flyby - EPOXI (spacecraft) [EPOXI]
-70      Deep Impact IMPACTOR (spacecraft)
-30      Deep Space 1 (spacecraft) [DS1 DS-1]
-129494  DirecTV-9S (spacecraft)
-143     ExoMars TGO (spacecraft)
-127783  GALEX (spacecraft)
-108366  GOES-1 (spacecraft)
-112472  GOES-5 (spacecraft)
-114050  GOES-6 (spacecraft)
-123051  GOES-8 (spacecraft)
-177     GRAIL-A (spacecraft) [Ebb]
-181     GRAIL-B (spacecraft) [Flow]
-176     GRAIL-SS Second Stage (spacecraft)
-139479  Gaia (spacecraft)
-77      Galileo (spacecraft)
-344     Galileo Probe (spacecraft)
-47900   Genesis (SRC) (spacecraft)
-47      Genesis (bus) (spacecraft)
-130     Hayabusa (spacecraft) [Muses-C]
-37      Hayabusa 2 (spacecraft)
-486     Herschel Space Observatory (spacecraft)
-48      Hubble Space Telescope (HST (spacecraft))
-111     ICE (spacecraft) [ISEE-3]
-198     INTEGRAL (spacecraft)
-640     Infrared Space Observatory (spacecraft) [ISO]
-125544  International Space Station (spacecraft) [ISS]
-99999   James Webb Space Telescope (spacecraft) [JWST]
-61      Juno (spacecraft)
-610     Juno Centaur Stage (spacecraft)
-227     Kepler (spacecraft)
-134381  Kepler Booster (Third Stage) (spacecraft)
-12      LADEE (spacecraft)
-18      LCROSS (spacecraft)
-141043  LISA Pathfinder (spacecraft) [LPF]
-999742  LISA Pathfinder Propulsion Module (spacecraft) [PRM]
-85      LRO (spacecraft)
-25      Lunar Prospector (LP) (spacecraft)
-202     MAVEN (spacecraft)
-236     MESSENGER (spacecraft)
-74900   MRO Centaur Stage (spacecraft)
-760     MSL Centaur Stage spacecraft
-2       Mariner 2 (spacecraft)
-41      Mars Express (spacecraft) [MEX]
-53      Mars Odyssey (spacecraft)
-3       Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) (spacecraft) [Mangalyaan ISRO]
-74      Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (spacecraft) [MRO]
-76      Mars Science Laboratory (spacecraft) (MSL)
-93      NEAR (spacecraft)
-997     NEOCP 6Q0B44E [B44E]
-998     NEOCP J002E3
-98      New Horizons (spacecraft) [NH New_Horizons]
-178     Nozomi (spacecraft) [Planet-B]
-64      OSIRIS-REx (spacecraft) [ORX]
-253     Opportunity (spacecraft) [MER]
-39      Ouna (spacecraft)
-84      Phoenix (spacecraft)
-23      Pioneer 10 (spacecraft)
-24      Pioneer 11 (spacecraft)
-6       Pioneer 6 (spacecraft)
-20      Pioneer 8 (spacecraft)
-489     Planck Space Observatory (spacecraft)
-5       Planet-C (spacecraft) [VCO Akatsuki]
-226     Rosetta (spacecraft)
-21      SOHO (spacecraft)
-234900  STEREO Third Stage (spacecraft)
-234     STEREO-A (spacecraft) [AHEAD]
-235     STEREO-B (spacecraft) [BEHIND]
-136395  Solar Dynamics Observatory (spacecraft) [SDO]
-557     Spektr-R Observatory (spacecraft)
-254     Spirit (spacecraft) [MER]
-79      Spitzer Space Telescope [SST SIRTF (spacecraft)]
-29900   Stardust (SRC) (spacecraft)
-29      Stardust (bus) (spacecraft) (NExT)
-128485  Swift Observatory (spacecraft)
-55      Ulysses (spacecraft)
-248     Venus Express (spacecraft) [VEX]
-31      Voyager 1 (spacecraft)
-32      Voyager 2 (spacecraft)
-163     WISE (spacecraft)
-165     WMAP (spacecraft)
-125989  XMM-Newton (spacecraft)
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Does the entire list of spacecraft from Horizons and a screenshot showing what button you clicked add anything to this question? $\endgroup$
    – Chris
    Oct 30, 2016 at 15:27
  • $\begingroup$ @Chris it may indeed for some people, especially those who are not so familliar with Horizons. There are >10,000 users here, it's a heterogeneous crowd! It actually took some time to get that list - I had do download the HTML and extract it. In the web interface you only get a small window. Why don't you spend some time and look around in SXSE and get to know it better first, maybe find something positive to contribute? $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    Oct 30, 2016 at 15:57
  • $\begingroup$ my only point is that questions are better when they're concise, and those things don't help clarify anything. I'm sorry you took such offense. $\endgroup$
    – Chris
    Oct 30, 2016 at 16:39
  • $\begingroup$ @Chris one can find places where people say that concise is always better, but is there any metric, and data that shows objectively, over time, and over a large body of readers, conciseness is actually important to them? Has this been demonstrated, or is it just something that we say because we saw it written somewhere? I'm not being rhetorical, I'd actually like to know because while I can be concise, I sometimes avoid and include information that may be helpful, especially to people (as myself) new to the field. $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    Oct 30, 2016 at 16:50
  • $\begingroup$ Since the next bounty "costs" 400 points and isn't likely to produce results after the 100 and 200 point bounties have failed, I'm not going to a priori offer it. However once a good and well-sourced answer is posted I am planning to add a "thank-you" bounty. $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    Aug 15, 2019 at 6:12

1 Answer 1


It had a ~ 100 x 100 km orbit around the moon originally, but a 100 x 15 km for more precise imaging. On 25 August 2011, it reached L2. 15 April of the next year, it departed for 'asteroid 4197'. Beijing time on December 13, 2012 16:30, 09 seconds, it was only 3.2 km away from it (7 000 000 km from earth), flying speed of up to 10.73 km/s.

A translated version of http://news.china.com.cn/2013-11/21/content_30660437.htm and the characters '轨道 的 嫦娥二号' may help more.

low quality pic

  • $\begingroup$ I have inserted the picture you linked to, but it's terrible quality. Do you have a better one? $\endgroup$
    – user10509
    Jul 6, 2017 at 7:48
  • $\begingroup$ Thank you very much for the summary and the link! I'll get some help with the translation. Thanks for the search terms in Chinese also. I think this is a really interesting mission and the trajectory and intercept were quite challenging. $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    Jul 6, 2017 at 8:05
  • $\begingroup$ @JanDoggen I'm also wondering about the image, but because it does not seem to show the same number and variety of maneuvers and holding points than the ones shown in the question. $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    Jul 6, 2017 at 8:15

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