China's 1st Mars exploration rover to launch next year

16:32, October 22, 2010      

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China will send Yinghuo-1, its first Mars exploration rover, together with Forbes, Russia's probe, in November 2011, according to news revealed during the third China Space Technology Forum on Thursday.

Xu Boing, chief engineer with the Shanghai Academy of Spaceflight Technology, announced this at the forum, which was held in Beijing. The Sino-Russia joint Mars program will use Russia's carrier rocket, he said.

The joint project has been delayed but it is not related to China. The main reason for the delay is the need for improvements to Russia's soil collector. In addition, the Yinghuo-1's process of orbital determination will fully be completed independently by China, Xu said.

After the Yinghuo-1 is sent into elliptical orbit around Mars by Forbes, it will orbit independently to finish exploration missions of the space environment and take images. Then it will conduct a joint Mars exploration mission with Forbes, Xu said.

The Sino-Russian joint Mars project will mark three "firsts" for China's space program, Xu said. This will be the first Sino-Russian joint space mission, the first Mars probe developed by China and the first time a Mars rover has been developed in 23 short months

The joint project has four engineering goals and four science goals, Xu said.

By Liang Jun, People's Daily Online


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