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China to launch second lunar probe in 2009: report

File illustration of Change'e-1.
by Staff Writers
Beijing (AFP) Feb 22, 2008
China hopes to launch its second moon-orbiting satellite in 2009, state media reported Friday, as the country steps up its space programme.

The news came after scientists regained contact with the country's first lunar satellite Chang'e-1 following a four-hour blackout, Xinhua news agency said.

Ye Peijian, the chief commander of Chang'e-1, did not elaborate on his announcement of the follow-up mission.

Change'e-1 is currently making a three-dimensional survey of the moon, and collecting data on the make-up of its surface, the report added.

The control centre lost contact with the satellite for four hours on Thursday, as it moved into a shadow area caused by Earth blocking out the sun, the report added.

In November, Premier Wen Jiabao hailed the first photo from the probe as evidence of China's rise as a space and technological power, and said it showed the country's dream of flying to the moon was beginning to materialise.

Chang'e-1 is the first stage of a programme that aims to land an unmanned rover on the moon by 2012 and put a man there by about 2020.

Beijing said it planned to launch a record number of spacecraft this year, state media reported Tuesday.

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Shenzhou VII Spaceship Airlock Module, Spacesuit Pass Initial Ground Tests
Beijing (XNA) Feb 22, 2008
China has passed initial ground tests for its Shenzhou VII spaceship airlock module and an extravehicular spacesuit, Thursday's China daily quoted a top scientist as saying. "Both the airlock module and the extravehicular spacesuit passed the tests, which simulated the zero-gravity environment of space," said Yang Baohua, head of the China Academy of Space Technology.







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