After reading this answer to How many earth stations had astronauts on-site during John Glenn's orbit in Friendship-7? I decided that for my own use I'd like to plot the orbit of Mercury-Atlas 6, the spacecraft piloted by John Glenn on February 20, 1962. This thorough answer there lists fourteen (14) ground stations plus two additional radar tracking stations for telemetry and/or voice communication, spread out - roughly along the general path that the spacecraft wold follow.
Wikipedia's Mercury-Atlas 6 lists some parameters for an elliptical orbit in geocentric (inertial) coordinates. From these I should be able to find an ellipse whose ground track comes close to intersecting the launch and landing coordinates. There's some uncertainty there, but I'll see what happens tomorrow.
Perigee: 149 kilometers (80 nautical miles) Apogee: 248 kilometers (134 nautical miles) Inclination: 32.5 degrees Launch site: Cape Canaveral LC-14 Landing site: 21°20′N 68°40′W
While the TLE catalog available from space-track.org is convenient to use and indeed lists
NORAD: 00240, it doesn't seem to have TLEs available. I requested data from the Celestrak "requestor" and have now received a second e-mail with the attached
.txt file. No dice.
===================================================================== 00240 1962-003A MERCURY ATLAS 6 Launched: 1962-02-20 (051) Start Date: 1962-02-19 (050) Decayed: 1962-02-20 (051) Stop Date: 1962-02-21 (052) ===================================================================== No data found for Catalog Number 00240 <End of file>
Question: Where to I look for historical or reconstructed orbit data for early NASA missions - Mercury-Atlas 6 for example.
Of course if there are more missions that would be great! I thought that I'd read years ago that NASA had put a collection of at least approximate, reconstructed trajectories somewhere for the public to access, but I can't find it now. I'm flexible on the form of the data, for example a table of state vectors, TLEs, or even one or more sets of Kepler orbital elements.
I suppose when I am done I can generate something like this display board shown below, but now I will also be able to plot approximate altitude, azimuth, and distance to each of the tracking stations as a function of time.
I'm not looking for such a plot, the answer I'm looking for will help suggest where I might find reconstructed orbit data.
above: View of Mercury Control at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, in Florida (USA) during the Mercury-Atlas 6 mission, in February 1962. From here.
above: A ground-track map for Mercury-6 from here.