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Forum:Satellites - Robotic Probes
Topic:China's Chang'e-1, Chang'e-2 to the moon
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China launched its first lunar probe, Chang'e II, in October 2007, marking a milestone in the country's space exploration.

After orbiting for 494 days and intentionally crashing onto the lunar surface, Chang'e II sent back 1.37 terabytes of data, producing China's first complete moon picture. The data has been shared with other countries for free.

Robert PearlmanXinhua news
Facts and figures about Chang'e II

China's second unmanned lunar probe, Chang'e II, launched at 6:59:57 p.m. Friday from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center (XSLC) in southwest China's Sichuan Province.

The following are some facts and figures:

  • Chang'e II was built as an alternative to Chang'e I, which was launched in October 2007 and maintained a 16-month lunar orbit.

  • Chang'e II will test key technologies and collect data for future landings of Chang'e III and IV, and provide high-resolution photographs of the landing area.

  • Chang'e II satellite weighs 2.48 tonnes.

  • The designed life of Chang'e II is six months, compared with one year for Chang'e I.

  • The spatial resolution -- the distance between two points that an imaging system can distinguish -- of the newly-developed camera carried by Chang'e II will be around 10 meters, compared with 120 meters for that on Chang'e I.

  • The rocket will carry Chang'e II to a trans-lunar orbit, which has an apogee of about 380,000 kilometers from the earth, and then the satellite is expected to take about 112 hours, or nearly five days, to arrive at its lunar orbit. Chang'e I took 12 days.

  • Chang'e II will orbit 100 kilometers above the moon, compared with 200 kilometers for Chang'e I.

  • Total expenditure for the Chang'e II mission is about 900 million yuan (134.33 million U.S. dollars).
GlintThis is pretty cool. Looks like the faring from the Chang'e 2 fluttered down and landed in a local Chinese village.
Robert PearlmanXinhua News
Chang'e-2 enters lunar orbit

China's second unmanned lunar probe, Chang'e-2, completed its first braking Wednesday, which decelerated the satellite and successfully allowed it to enter a 12-hour orbit, according to the Beijing Aerospace Control Center (BACC).

Chang'e-2, following instructions from the center, started the first braking at 11:06 a.m. and entered the 12-hour elliptical moon orbit 32 minutes later.

It was the first braking for Chang'e-2. The satellite needs to brake another two times before it can enter the designed 118-minute working orbit.

The braking "laid a solid foundation" for Chang'e-2 to carry out scientific explorations in its final orbit, BACC said in a press release.

Compared with Chang'e-1, it is more challenging for Chang'e-2 to brake as it must do so at a closer distance to the moon and at a higher speed.

Long-March-3C carrier rocket carried Chang'e-2 into space blasting off from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center, in southwest China's Sichuan Province, at about 7 p.m. Friday.

To acquire more detailed moon data, Chang'e-2 will enter a lower lunar orbit about 100 km above the surface, compared with the 200-km altitude of Chang'e-1, according to the control center.

Before its first braking, the lunar probe had traveled nearly 350,000 km.

Robert PearlmanXinhua News
China's second lunar probe completes final braking, enters working orbit

China's second unmanned lunar probe, Chang'e-2, has successfully completed its third, also the final, braking Saturday, which allowed the satellite to enter a 100 km-high lunar orbit, according to the Beijing Aerospace Control Center (BACC).

Chang'e-2, following instructions from the center, started the third braking at 11:17 a.m. and entered the 118-minute, round working orbit 15 minutes later, changing the satellite's apolune from 1,825 km to about 100 km, the BACC said. The satellite will begin scientific exploration activities soon.

Robert PearlmanXinhua News
China's second moon orbiter Chang'e-2 goes to outer space

China's second moon orbiter Chang'e-2 on Thursday set off from its moon orbit for outer space about 1.5 million km away from the earth, Chinese scientists said Thursday.

The orbiter left its moon orbit at 5:10 p.m. and it will take about 85 days for the orbiter to reach outer space, according to the State Administration of Science,Technology and Industry for National Defence (SASTIND).

The orbiter had finished all its tasks within its designed life span of six months by April 1.

Scientists decided to let it carry out additional exploratory tasks as the orbiter still had fuel in reserve.

Traveling into outer space from the moon's orbit is the most important task among five additional ones, according to the SASTIND.

"It's the first time in the world for a satellite to be set off from the moon in remote outer space," said Zhou Jianliang, deputy chief engineer of the Chang'e-2 measure and control system of the Beijing Aerospace Control Center (BACC).

Moon exploration means about 400,000 km away from the earth, but outer space exploration means 1.5 million km, posing great challenges to the country's technology in measure and control, telecommunications, data transaction and orbit design, scientists said.

Before flying away, the orbiter had finished two additional tasks as of May 23.

One was to take photos of the northern and southern poles of the moon. The other was to descend again to the perilune orbit, about 15 km away from the surface, to catch high-resolution images of the Sinus Iridum, or Bay of Rainbows, the proposed landing ground for future moon missions.

Scientists hope the satellite can continue operations until the end of next year.

Robert PearlmanChina's state-run news service Xinhua reports that the nation's deep-space probe Chang'e-2 has successfully conducted a flyby of the asteroid Toutatis, at a distance of about 4.3 million miles (7 million kilometers) away from Earth.
Chang'e-2 made the flyby on Dec. 13 at 16:30:09 Beijing Time (08:30"09 GMT), the State Administration of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defense (SASTIND) announced on Saturday.

The flyby was the first time an unmanned spacecraft launched from Earth has taken such a close viewing of the asteroid, named after a Celtic god.

It also made China the fourth country after the United States, the European Union and Japan to be able to examine an asteroid by spacecraft.

Chang'e-2 came as close as 3.2 km from Toutatis and took pictures of the asteroid at a relative velocity of 10.73 km per second, the SASTIND said in a statement.

Sources with the administration told Xinhua that Chang'e-2 is continuing its deep space travel and will reach a distance of more than 6.2 million miles (10 million km) away from Earth in January next year.

Chang'e-2 was launched on Oct. 1, 2010 from Xichang Satellite Launch Center and later orbited the moon to finish a more extensive probe than its predecessor Chang'e-1.

In related news, scientists working with NASA's 230-foot-wide (70-meter) Deep Space Network antenna at Goldstone, Calif., have generated a series of radar data images of the three-mile-long (4.8-kilometer) Toutatis that made its closest approach to Earth on Dec. 12, 2012.

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