Special report: China launches first lunar orbiter
The circumlunar satellite Chang'e-1 blasted off on a Long March3A carrier rocket at 6:05 p.m., Oct.24 from the No. 3 launching tower in the Xichang Satellite Launch Center of southwestern Sichuan Province. (Xinhua/Li Gang)
BEIJING, Oct. 25 (Xinhua) -- China's first lunar probe Chang'e-1 completed its first orbital transfer Thursday afternoon, another key move in its 380,000-km journey to the moon.
The orbital transfer began at 5:55 p.m. and succeeded after 130 seconds. The probe was transferred to an orbit with a perigee of about 600 km, up from the former 200-km perigee, according to the Beijing Aerospace Control Center (BACC).
Chang'e-1, named after a mythical Chinese goddess who, according to legend, flew to the moon, blasted off on a Long March3A carrier rocket at 6:05 p.m. Wednesday from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in the southwestern province of Sichuan.
The circumlunar satellite will experience another three accelerations, which will further shorten its distance to the moon orbit, Zhou said.
The probe will complete its second orbital transfer on Friday, in which it will enter a 24-hour trajectory and orbit the earth along the new trajectory for three days.
It is expected to enter earth-moon transfer orbit on Oct. 31 and arrive in the moon's orbit on Nov. 5.
The 2,300-kg moon orbiter carried eight probing facilities, including a stereo camera and interferometer, an imager and gamma/x-ray spectrometer, a laser altimeter, a microwave detector, a high energy solar particle detector and a low energy ion detector.
It will fulfill four scientific objectives, including a three-dimensional survey of the Moon's surface, analysis of the abundance and distribution of elements on lunar surface, an investigation of the characteristics of lunar regolith and the powdery soil layer on the surface, and an exploration of the circumstance between the earth and the moon.
The satellite will relay the first picture of the moon in late November and will then continue scientific explorations of the moon for a year.
China's lunar orbiter project has cost 1.4 billion yuan (about 133 to 187 million U.S. dollars) since research and development of the project was approved at the beginning of 2004.
The launch of the orbiter marks the first step of China's three-stage moon mission, which will lead to a moon landing and launch of a moon rover at around 2012.
In the third phase, another rover will land on the moon and return to earth with lunar soil and stone samples for scientific research around 2017.
China carried out its maiden piloted space flight in October 2003, making it only the third country in the world after the Soviet Union and the United States to have sent men into space. In October 2005, China completed its second manned space flight, with two astronauts on board.
Japan launched its first lunar probe, nicknamed Kaguya after a moon princess in an ancient Japanese folktale, in mid-September, and India is planning to send its own lunar probe into space next April.
But Luan Enjie, chief commander of China's lunar orbiter project, said that "China will not be involved in moon race with any other country and in any form."
"China will, in the principle of pursuing a policy of peaceful use of airspace, share the achievements of the lunar exploration with the whole world," he told Xinhua.
BEIJING, Oct. 25 (Xinhua) -- China has no plan or timetable for a manned moon landing for now, senior Chinese lunar scientists told Xinhua on Thursday, a day after the nation launched its first lunar probe, Chang'e-1. Full story
BEIJING, Oct.24 (Xinhua) -- China successfully launched its first circumlunar satellite Chang'e-1 on Wednesday, another step towards its ambition to become a major power in the outer space. Full story
XICHANG, Sichuan, Oct. 24 (Xinhua) -- China will not embark on any lunar probe competition "in any form with any country" and will "share the results of its moon exploration with the whole world" in its pursuit of a policy of peaceful use of airspace, said a chief commander of the country's first lunar satellite project. Full story
XICHANG, Sichuan, Oct. 24 (Xinhua) -- China's first lunar probe Chang'e-1 has begun to use solar energy for power supply as the solar panel of the orbiter was unfolded as planned, according to the control center. Full story
XICHANG, Sichuan, Oct. 24 (Xinhua) -- Chang'er Chang'e-1 is successfully separated from carrier rocket as planned, the control center said. Full story
BEIJING, Oct. 24 (Xinhua) -- China launched its first lunar probe on Wednesday, first step into its ambitious three-stage moon mission, marking a new milestone in the country's space exploration history. Full story
XICHANG, Sichuan, Oct. 24 (Xinhua) -- China's milestone lunar orbiter project only costs 1 to 1.4 billion yuan (about 133 to 187million U.S. dollars), the same amount as the money used to construct 2 km of subway in Beijing, said Ouyang Ziyuan, chief scientist of the lunar exploration program. Full story
XICHANG, Sichuan, Oct. 24 (Xinhua) -- China's first moon orbiter which is likely to be launched at around 6:00 p.m. Wednesday from a southwest launch center, has been named after "moon lady" Chang'e, a mythical Chinese goddess who flew to the moon. Full story
BEIJING, Oct. 24 (Xinhua) -- Testing operators have started leaving the launching tower in the Xichang Satellite Launch Center, where China's first lunar probe Chang'e-1 will blast off at around 6:00 p.m. on Wednesday. Full story
XICHANG, Sichuan Oct. 24 (Xinhua) -- Chinese press and thousands of tourists have gathered at China's Xichang Satellite Launch Center in southwestern Sichuan Province to witness the launch of the nation's first moon orbiter, which is scheduled to take place at 6:05 p.m. on Wednesday. Full story
XICHANG, Sichuan, Oct. 23 (Xinhua) -- China is busy preparing for the launch of its first moon orbiter which is likely to take place on Wednesday evening. The rocket is now on the launch pad and all staff are in position at the site. Chinaview.cn will telecast live the launch of the orbiter. Full story