China Successfully Launches Chang’e 1
October 24, 2007
As promised, China launched its much awaited lunar satellite, Chang’e 1, on Wednesday, October 24, at approximately 5:05 a.m. CST from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in southwest China’s Sichuan Province.
China’s milestone lunar orbiter project only cost 1 to 1.4 billion yuan (about 133 to 187 million U.S. dollars). Chang’e 1 is the most sophisticated satellite China has built and maneuvered to date. The satellite weighs about 2300 kg in total. The fuel carried by the orbiter accounts for nearly half its total weight.
Chang’e 1, named after a legendary Chinese goddess of the Moon, is expected to enter Earth-Moon transfer orbit on October 31 and is expected to enter the Moon’s orbit on November 5. The satellite will relay the first picture of the Moon in late November and will then continue scientific explorations of the Moon for a year. It will carry out a series of projects, including acquiring three-dimensional images and analyzing the distribution of elements on the Moon’s surface.
According to Chinese officials, China will share the achievements of the lunar exploration with the world, but will not be involved in a Moon race with other countries.
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Last updated January 30, 2008