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TOPIC: Chang'e Lunar Satellite


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China publishes first moon picture
File image released by the China National Space Administration (CNSA) on Nov. 26, 2007 shows the first picture of the moon captured by Chang'e-1.

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The camera aboard China's lunar probe Chang'e-1 is a high performance CCD (Charge Coupled Device) stereo camera, which has three lenses to take photos of the lunar surface from three different angles to build up a 3D image.
Hao Xifan, deputy director of the Lunar Exploration Center of China's Commission of Science Technology and Industry for National Defence, said that the whole lunar 3D image will possibly be published in January next year.
Chang'e-1 is expected to photograph the whole lunar surface in a month, as the moon's rotation period is one month.
After Chang'e-1 sends back the data, researchers have to spend months piecing together the data and complete the entire lunar surface image.

Source China.org

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China has revealed the first picture of the moon captured by Chang'e-1 on Monday morning.
The framed black-and-white photo was unveiled by Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao at the Beijing Aerospace Control Centre. The image showed a rough moon surface with scattered round craters both big and small.
The area covered by the picture, about 460 kilometres in length and 280 km in width, was located within a 54 to 70 degrees south latitude and 57 to 83 degrees east longitude.
The area pictured was part of the moon's highland and was mainly composed of plagioclase, a common rock-forming element. On the surface were craters of different sizes, shapes, structures and ages.

"The dark patch in the picture's upper right side shows the surface blanketed by basalt, a hard and dense volcanic rock".

The picture was pieced together by 19 images, each covering a width of 60 kilometres on the moon's surface. The far right of the picture was the first area to be captured by the CCD camera aboard Chang'e-1. All the image data was collected on Nov. 20 and Nov. 21 and processed into a three-dimensional picture in several days after being transmitted back to Earth.

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Image rotated 90 degrees to the left.

China publishes its first picture of the moon captured by Chang'e-1, the country's first lunar probe, on Monday, marking the full success of its lunar probe project.

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China's lunar orbiter is set to begin switching on its science instruments. The spacecraft should help determine the thickness of the lunar soil and shed new light on the Moon's internal composition, which could help in understanding its origins

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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 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.  The second braking has laid a good foundation for the probe's entry into its final working orbit tomorrow" - Zhu Mincai, head of the Beijing Aerospace Control Centre (BACC).

 "So far, orbital transfers of the probe have all been done accurately.  The precise ground manoeuvres and orbital transfers have saved a lot of fuel, which may prolong the probe's working time on its final orbit by around one year" - Bian Bingxiu, a researcher with the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation.

Chang'e-1 will brake for the third time at around 8:09 a.m. on Wednesday to enter its final orbit.  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 was originally planned to stay a year for scientific explorations.

Adapted from Xinhua

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China's first lunar probe, Chang'e-1,  stopped rotation at 9:00 a.m. today,  and successfully completed its first braking at perilune and entered  moon orbit, becoming China's first circumlunar satellite.

"It turns the satellite into a real circumlunar one, marking a new milestone in China's aerospace history and also the first move of the country's deep space explorations" -  Sun Laiyan, deputy head of the Commission of Science Technology and Industry for National Defence.

The probe is now in a 12-hour elliptical moon orbit, with a perilune of about 200 km and an apolune of about 8,600 km, and orbital speed of  1.948 km per second.
The probe will perform another two breaking manoeuvres  over the next two days, to reduce the speed down to 1.8 km per second and 3.5-hour orbit and then finally to 1.59 km per second  and a 127-minute lunar orbit.

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For the first time, ESA tracking stations have transmitted telecommands to a Chinese satellite. This morning at 07:15 CET (06:15 UTC), China's mission control reported that commands transmitted from Maspalomas station had been successfully received by the Chang'e-1 Moon mission.
 ESA ground tracking support to China's Chang'e-1 successfully started on 1 November 2007 at 04:35 CET (03:35 UTC) with the first receipt of telemetry signals from the Chinese mission at ESA's 35m deep-space station at New Norcia, Australia.
Two hours and 39 minutes later, the first telecommands to Chang'e-1 were transmitted via ESA's 15m station in Maspalomas, Spain, when the Chinese satellite was nearly 200 000 km from Maspalomas station. An hour later, the ESA station in Kourou, French Guiana, also successfully received telemetry and transmitted commands to Chang'e-1.

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China's lunar probe Chang'e I completed its fourth orbital transfer on Wednesday afternoon, a critical move to push it to fly to the moon "in a real sense".
The engine on the probe was started at 5:15pm. Thirteen minutes later, the probe was successfully shifted to the earth-moon transfer orbit with an apogee of about 380,000 km.
The main engine of Chang'e I started operation and helped raise the speed of the probe to 10.916 km per second in a few minutes before the satellite reached the 'entrance' of the earth-moon transfer orbit, said Zhu Mincai, head of the Beijing Aerospace Control Centre (BACC).

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This afternoon the Chang'e-1 lunar probe began its third orbital transfer , which is one more step forward in its 1,580,000-km journey to the moon.
The orbital transfer commands were issued by the Yuanwang-3 space tracking ship stationed in the south Pacific at around 5:56 p.m.
The transfer manoeuvre will place the satellite into a 48-hour orbit, and increasing its apogee from 70,000 km to 120,000 km.

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On Wednesday, China launched its first lunar probe, hot on the heels of Japan and slightly ahead of India. In a month that marked the 50th anniversary of the beginning of the first space race, with the Soviet satellite, Sputnik, it looks as if we're in for another. The question is why.
China aims to put a citizen on the moon by 2020, the same target set by President Bush for a US return. The reasons given for this new lunar push are national prestige and science. But no space programme has ever been about science: when President John F Kennedy laid his Apollo project on a stunned world in 1961, his chief scientific advisor made him promise never to claim that the thing was about research, and, to his credit, he never did. JFK's motives involved the need to salvage his presidency and, perhaps, a desire to keep missile makers busy with work that didn't involve blowing up the world. We got some excellent state-funded theatre, but the science could have been done by robots.

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The ESA ground station network is being mobilised to provide direct support to China's Chang'E-1 Moon mission. Three ESTRACK stations will be used to track Chang'E-1 on the flight to the Moon and during the critical Moon orbit insertion.
 The mission was launched on 24 October 2007 at 10:05 UTC (12:05 CEST) from Launch Pad 3 at the Xichang Satellite Launch Centre in south-west China's Sichuan Province.
Engineers at ESOC, the European Space Operations Centre, in Darmstadt, Germany, will be 'on the loop' - in voice communication - with Chinese mission controllers at BACC, the Beijing Aerospace Command and Control Centre, starting on 1 November.

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