[meteorite-list] China's First Lunar Probe 'Chang'e-3' Enters Moon's Orbit
From: Ron Baalke <baalke_at_meteoritecentral.com>
Date: Fri, 6 Dec 2013 09:10:31 -0800 (PST)
China's first lunar probe 'Chang'e-3' enters Moon's orbit
The Economic Times
December 6, 2013
BEIJING: China's first unmanned lunar probe today successfully entered
a circular Moon's orbit, a key step in the country's maiden attempt to
soft land and explore the surface of an extra-terrestrial celestial body.
Chang'e-3 probe entered the lunar orbit after about 112 hours on a Earth-Moon
transfer orbit, the Beijing Aerospace Control Center (BACC) said.
The rover - known as Yutu, or Jade Rabbit - entered the orbit after 361
seconds of precise braking by the variable thrust engine, following orders
by engineers with BACC.
The center later verified that Chang'e-3 had entered the 100 km-high lunar
The braking was important otherwise Chang'e-3 would have escaped from
the Moon, or crashed into it, the BACC said.
The Chang'e-3 mission - named for the goddess of the Moon in Chinese mythology,
with the rover vehicle named after her pet - is expected to touch down
on the Moon in mid-December to explore its surface and and search for
The probe was launched on Monday from southwest China's Xichang Satellite
The Chang'e-3 will make China the third country to land a rover on the
Moon, following the US and the former Soviet Union decades ago.
It is first time China is attempting soft landing on a celestial body
and also the first time any lunar soft landing is being carried out since
1976, when other countries suspended exploration, Li Benzheng, deputy
commander in chief of the lunar exploration programme, had said.
China aims to establish a permanent space station by 2020 and eventually
send a human to the moon.
Received on Fri 06 Dec 2013 12:10:31 PM PST