01/02 December 2013
The launch of China's lunar probe Chang'e-3 was "successful," the Xichang Satellite Launch Center announced Monday. Zhang Zhenzhong, director of the center, made the announcement after the lunar probe entered the earth-moon transfer orbit and unfolded its solar panels. Chang'e-3 lunar probe, aboard a Long March-3B carrier rocket, blasted off from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in southwest China at 1:30 a.m. Monday.
29 November 2013
Shortly after China’s Chang’e 3 spacecraft departs Earth to land on the Moon, ESA’s network of tracking stations will swing into action, providing crucial support for the vessel’s five-day lunar cruise. “Whether for human or robotic missions, international cooperation like this is necessary for the future exploration of planets, moons and asteroids, benefitting everyone.” says ESA’s Thomas Reiter, Director for Human Spaceflight and Operations.
A team of engineers from China will be on hand in Darmstadt. “While we’re very international at ESOC, hardly anyone speaks Mandarin, so having Chinese colleagues on site will really help in case of any unforeseen problems,” says Erik Soerensen, responsible for external mission tracking support at ESOC.
29 November 2013
Jia Yang, the Deputy Chief Designer of China's first lunar rover says about the mission: "China started four decades late in the lunar project, yet the rover design is not a simple copy of advanced nations. It combines an integration of modern technologies of electronics, machinery, and thermal control." He added: "China's lunar project will help accumulate experience and technology, which will be crucial for future projects. Making a soft landing and moon rover is a practical step for the long journey of China's space exploration."
The Chang’e-3 is just one more example of the country's increasing technological capabilities. For scientists, like Jia Yang, the next part of the space dream could be clear, sending astronauts to the moon.