China’s second lunar probe blasts off

October 1st, 2010 - 7:32 pm ICT by IANS  

Beijing, Oct 1 (IANS) China Friday launched its second unmanned lunar probe, Chang’e-2. This was the second of the country’s three-phase moon mission which will culminate in a landing on the moon.

The satellite, named after the Chinese goddess of the moon, blasted off at 6.59 p.m. on the Long March 3C carrier rocket from the Xichang Satellite Launch Centre in Sichuan province, Xinhua reported.

“Chang’e-2 lays the foundation for the landing on the moon and further exploration of outer space,” said Wu Weiren, chief designer of the lunar orbiter project.

The satellite would take about 112 hours - around five days - to reach the lunar orbit, faster than the 12 days taken by the Chang’e-1 three years ago.

“It travels faster and would be closer to the moon and will capture clear pictures,” Wu said.

Chang’e-2 will orbit 100 km above the moon, compared to 200 km by the Chang’e-1.

China launched its first lunar probe, Chang’e-1, in October 2007, marking a milestone in the country’s space exploration.

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