China's second lunar probe enters moon's orbit: state media
Beijing (AFP) Oct 9, 2010
China's second lunar probe entered the moon's orbit on Saturday, eight days after the Long March 3C rocket carrying the Chang'e-2 blasted off from the launch centre, state media reported.
The unmanned probe will start "scientific exploration activities soon," said the official Xinhua news agency, citing the Beijing Aerospace Control Center.
The Chang'e-2 will first circle the moon at a distance of 100 kilometres (62 miles). The plan is for it to drop into orbit 15 kilometres from the moon's surface.
It will conduct various tests over a six-month period in preparation for the expected launch in 2013 of the Chang'e-3, which China hopes will be its first unmanned landing on the moon.
The Chang'e programme, named after a mythical Chinese goddess who flew to the moon, is seen as an effort to put China's space exploration programme on a par with those of the United States and Russia.
The first lunar probe, launched in October 2007, was in orbit for 16 months.
Beijing hopes to bring a moon rock sample back to earth in 2017, with a manned mission pencilled in for around 2020, according to state media.
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Lunar Probe And Space Exploration Is China's Duty To Mankind
Beijing, China (XNA) Oct 07, 2010
A chief designer with China's second lunar probe project has said that the country's lunar pursuit, while lagging behind Russia and the United States for more than 40 years, is still important because space exploration is part of the country's responsibility towards mankind. "The most fundamental task for human beings' space exploration is to research on human origins and find a way for ma ... read more
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