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Chang'e-1 completes 2nd braking, closer to final orbit
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13:10, November 06, 2007

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· China's Lunar Exploration Program
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China's first lunar probe, Chang'e-1, completed its second braking on Tuesday's morning, which further decelerated the satellite to get it closer to its final orbit.

Chang'e-1, following the instructions of the Beijing Aerospace Control Center (BACC), started the second braking at 11:21 a.m. and entered a 3.5-hour orbit with a perilune of 213 km and an apolune of 1,700 km at around 11:35 a.m. after completing the braking.

"The second braking was done just as accurately as the first one and the satellite has entered the orbit just as designed," said Zhu Mincai, head of the Beijing Aerospace Control Center (BACC).

"The second braking has laid a good foundation for the probe's entry into its final working orbit tomorrow," Zhu said, adding that scientists and engineers will continue their calculation and measurement in the afternoon to ensure a success maneuver on Wednesday.

He said that the probe will brake for the third time at around 8:09 a.m. on Wednesday to enter its final orbit, marking success of the probe's whole flying journey to the moon.

The third braking will slow down the probe's speed to 1.59 km per second to put it on a 127-minute round polar circular orbit, where it is supposed to start "working" formally.

Before the second braking, Chang'e-1 was traveling along a 12-hour elliptical moon orbit, with a perilune of about 210 km and an apolune of about 8,600 km.

Chang'e-1 successfully completed its first braking and entered the moon's orbit at around 11:37 a.m. on Monday, which made it become a "real" circumlunar satellite.

The probe, named after a legendary Chinese goddess who flew to the moon, blasted off on a Long March 3A carrier rocket on Oct. 24 from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in southwestern Sichuan Province.

Source:Xinhua



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