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China's soft-landing on moon milestone in space history: U.S. expert

English.news.cn   2013-12-17 10:43:31            

Backgrounder: China's "triple jump" progress in lunar probes

Backgrounder: Timeline of China's lunar program

Special Report: China's lunar explorations

Graphics: Launch procedure of Chang'e-3 lunar probe

CHICAGO, Dec. 16 (Xinhua) -- China's recent success in soft-landing a spacecraft on the Moon is a milestone in space history, according to a Purdue University professor of aeronautics and astronautics.

"I am very excited about the great venture that China has undertaken and hope that it will spur greater commitment by all nations to explore space," said Prof. James Longuski in an interview with Xinhua on Monday.

Comprising a lander and Moon rover Yutu, or Jade Rabbit, Chang'e-3 lunar probe soft-landed on moon at 9:11 p.m. Saturday Beijing Time. Yutu later separated from the lander and rolled to moon surface earlier Sunday.

According to Longuski, who is also an associate fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA), "China becomes the third space faring nation to accomplish such a monumental achievement and has demonstrated that they are serious about making their mark in pursuing the final frontier."

When the American spacecraft, Surveyor 1, soft-landed on the Moon in 1966 -- it was only three years later that Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walked on it.

Although China has not officially announced any intention to fly a human mission to the Moon, the door is now open and -- if they have the will -- nothing will stand in their way, Longuski said.

He believes that China is likely to expand its horizon in space travel and the possibility of sending humans to the Moon is within their grasp.

Prof. Longuski has published over 200 conference and journal papers in astrodynamics including such topics as spacecraft dynamics and control, reentry theory, mission design, space trajectory optimization, and a new test of General Relativity.

He has also published two books, Advice to Rocket Scientists (AIAA, 2004) and How to Think Like a Rocket Scientist (Springer, 2007).

Related:

Deep space monitoring station abroad imperative: Chinese scientist

BEIJING, Dec. 16 (Xinhua) -- China needs to build a deep space monitoring station abroad because the existing network is not capable of tracking deep space detectors round the clock, a leading scientist said on Monday.

Despite having two monitoring stations in the country, there are still eight to ten hours a day during which China cannot track its deep space detectors, said Zhou Jianliang, chief engineer of the Beijing Aerospace Control Center, at a press conference. Full story

Scientific equipment aboard Chang'e-3 starts working

BEIJING, Dec. 16 (Xinhua) -- Five of the eight pieces of scientific equipment aboard Chang'e-3 lunar probe have started to observe space, the Earth and the Moon, a Chinese scientist said on Monday.

They have entered working mode and telescopes and cameras have produced clear images, Zou Yongliao, a scientist with the Chinese Academy of Sciences, said at a press conference. Full story

China explores moon for science, technology advancement

BEIJING, Dec. 16 (Xinhua) -- China expects to gain a scientific understanding of the moon and develop its space technologies through its lunar program, a spokesman said in Beijing on Monday.

China has carried out its lunar exploration program as current financial and technical conditions have allowed, said Wu Zhijian, spokesman with the State Administration of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defense, during a press conference. Full story

China announces Chang'e-3 mission "complete success"

BEIJING, Dec. 15 (Xinhua) -- Ma Xingrui, chief commander of China's lunar program, announced on Sunday night Chang'e-3 mission a "complete success", after the lander and moon rover successfully took pictures of each other. Full story

Commentary: Chang'e-3's soft landing marks China's hard success

BEIJING, Dec. 14 (Xinhua) -- The moon Saturday saw a rare new visitor -- lunar probe Chang'e-3 from China, the third country on earth which achieved a soft landing on it after theUnited Statesand the former Soviet Union.

The success also made China the first country that conducted a soft landing on Sinus Iridum, or the Bay of Rainbows, a lunar area that remains unstudied and silent for hundreds of millions of years, stamping new foot prints in the history of mankind's lunar exploration. Full story

China's Chang'e-3 lunar probe amazes world

BEIJING, Dec. 14 (Xinhua) -- China's Chang'e-3, which includes its first lunar rover named Yutu, or Jade Rabbit, has successfully soft landed on the Moon Saturday, fulfilling the long-awaited dream of moon landing of the Chinese nation.

Since the successful launching of Chang'e-3 mission early December, the Chang'e-3 lunar exploration program has been put in the spotlight. Now as Jade Rabbit has made its touchdown on the moon surface, the whole world again marvels at China's remarkable space capabilities and even extends their aspiration for space cooperation with China. Full story

Editor: An
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