China may launch 2nd lunar probe on Oct. 1

16:43, September 26, 2010      

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The Chang'e-2, China's second lunar probe, is expected to launch on Oct. 1 and the final confirmation of its technical conditions and related preparation work are currently under way, reporters of Qilu Evening News learned from an activity attended by Chinese astronauts and scientists in Tengzhou, Shandong Province on Sept. 22.

The Chang'e-2 spacecraft has already been transported to the Xichang Satellite Launch Center.

According to experts, as a backup spacecraft of the Chang'e-1, the Chang'e-2 will be launched using the Chinese LM-3B Rocket.

The key tasks of the Chang'e-2 are to conduct several important technical tests for the moon landing of the Chang'e-3 and to take high-resolution photos of the landing area.

Experts said that the greatest feature of Chang'e-2 is that it flies faster toward the moon than the Chang'e-1. Before it finally flies toward the moon, it takes seven days for the Chang'e-1 to orbit around the Earth and experience four orbital transfers. By contrast, the Chang'e-2 will fly directly toward the moon in about 120 hours.

The Chang'e-2 will also orbit closer to the moon. The flight orbit of the Chang'e-2 around the moon will be reduced to 100 kilometers versus the 200 kilometers flight orbit of the Chang'e-1.

In order to get a better look at the moon, researchers installed CCD cameras with the resolving capability of 10 meters on the Chang'e-2 to take clearer and more detailed photos. The Chang'e-1's camera only had resolving capability of 120 meters. It will obtain more scientific exploration data for scientific research.

China has already completed four unmanned space flights with the spaceships Shenzhou-1 to Shenzhou-4 and three manned space flights with spaceships Shenzhou-5 to Shenzhou-7.

The Chang'e-1 satellite was successfully launched on Oct. 24, 2007. It also completed a series of missions, including accurate measurement and control, precise orbit transfer, successful flight around the moon and effective detection after more than one year of orbiting and was controlled to crash into the moon on March 1, 2009.

By People's Daily Online

(Editor:张洪宇)

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