This answer taught me about J002E3, an object detected in Earth orbit in 2002 that is assumed to be the Saturn V IV-B stage from Apollo 12. It's trajectory through space is fascinating:

J002E3 animation


This announcement explains that the trajectory of the object has been propagated backwards in time to conclude it is most likely the IV-B stage from Apollo 12.

This made me wonder: is the trajectory of J002E3 available? Ideally I'd hope to see:

  1. historic measurement data from 1969
  2. actual observational data from 2002 to now
  3. simulated datapoints for in between (or: would an amateur like myself be able to simulate this from #1 and/or #2?)

(This answer explains that the trajectory looks funky in part by the choice of reference frame in the animation - I'd be really curious to see the trajectory in different frames.)

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    $\begingroup$ See the link to the article in Organic Marble's answer here space.stackexchange.com/questions/40005/…. There is some information (and trajectory plots) on Apollo 12 S-IVB maneuvers for slingshot over the moon. $\endgroup$ – Sergiy Lenzion Nov 22 '19 at 21:45
  • $\begingroup$ @LeoS Fascinating paper! I'll read it in more detail in the coming days. Should be part of an answer. $\endgroup$ – Ludo Nov 22 '19 at 21:52
  • $\begingroup$ I was hoping HORIZONS would tell me, but got the error No ephemeris for target "NEOCP J002E3" prior to A.D. 2003-FEB-28 23:58:55.8146 UT $\endgroup$ – user7073 Nov 25 '19 at 15:35

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