Chang’e-2 starts transmitting data from lunar orbit


Chang'e-2 lunar probe: Credit: CNSA


Chang’e-2 remains on track and the scond orbit correction planned for Sunday may not be necessary.

From the Beijing Review:

All scientific exploration equipment has begun operation on China’s new lunar probe,Chang’e-2. The instruments that collect information about the space environment between the Earth and the Moon have sent back their first batch of data. The ground control center received the first readings from Chang’e-2 early Tuesday morning. The equipment on board detects a wide array of information such as gamma radiation levels.

The control center has confirmed that all instruments are working correctly.

The center announced that the second correction of Chang’e-2‘s orbit has been cancelled, as data proves the satellite is travelling strictly to plan following the first correction.

Experts said the satellite might change its orbit slightly due to the influence of the atmosphere and cosmic environment. Timely correction is therefore needed to prevent Chang’e-2 from deviating from its designed orbit.

The probe went through its first trajectory correction 17 hours after its successful launch. According to the original plan, the second correction would have been on Sunday. The control center is now watching closely for the timing of its next orbit correction. It’s the first time a Chinese lunar probe has directly entered an Earth-Moon transfer orbit without orbiting the Earth first.

Chang’e-2 satellite was launched just before 7 p.m. on October 1, inaugurating China’s second phase of a three-step moon mission, which will eventually culminate in a soft landing on the Moon.

From Spaceflight Now:

Chang’e 2 will map candidate landing sites for the next mission in China’s lunar program, which targets a robotic touchdown on the moon after launch in 2013. Another project in China’s long-term plans is a vehicle to return soil and rock from the moon back to Earth.

After its $134 million baseline mission at the moon is finished, Xinhua reports Chang’e 2 could enter an extended phase.

Officials are considering three scenarios for Chang’e 2’s overtime, including sending the spacecraft away from the moon and into deep space, giving Chinese engineers practice in operations further from Earth. The satellite’s propellant could also return Chang’e 2 to Earth orbit, according to Huang Jiangchuan, a chief designer quoted in Xinhua.

Chang’e 2 could also continue circling the moon, relaying more science data before attempting a landing or impact on the surface, officials said.

Chang’e 1 was deliberately crashed into the moon at the end of its mission in March 2009.

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One Response to “Chang’e-2 starts transmitting data from lunar orbit”

  1. Chang’e-2 enters penultimate lunar orbit « The k2p blog Says:

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