Chang'e-2 gets 1st trajectory correction

Updated: 2010-10-02 18:58
Large Medium Small

BEIJING - China's second unmanned lunar probe, Chang'e-2, was maneuvered to correct its trajectory on the earth-moon transfer orbit Saturday.

Scientists successfully activated the attitude control engines on Chang'e-2 and trimmed the satellite for the first time on its journey, according to a flight control official in Beijing.

Special Coverage:
China's second lunar probe
Related readings:
Chang'e-2 gets 1st trajectory correction China's 2nd lunar probe Chang'e-2 enters earth-moon transfer orbit
Chang'e-2 gets 1st trajectory correction China's 2nd lunar probe Chang'e-2 blasts off
Chang'e-2 gets 1st trajectory correction Future of Chang'e-2 lies in one of three directions
Chang'e-2 gets 1st trajectory correction Facts and figures about lunar probe Chang'e-2
"During Chang'e-2's 380,000-km journey to the moon, we will conduct more orbit corrections if necessary to ensure that it enters a lunar orbit," said Ma Yongping, vice director of the flight control center.

Chang'e-2 blasted off on a Long-March-3C carrier rocket from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center, in Southwest China's Sichuan province, at about 7 pm Friday.

It is China's first unmanned spacecraft to be boosted from the launch site directly to the earth-moon transfer orbit, greatly reducing the journey time from that of its predecessor Chang'e-1.

Chang'e-1 took about 13 days to travel to a lunar orbit after orbiting the earth in a geosynchronous orbit and then transferring to the earth-moon transfer orbit.

Chang'e-2 is expected to travel for about 112 hours, or almost five days, to arrive in a lunar orbit.

To acquire more detailed moon data, Chang'e-2 will enter a lower lunar orbit about 100 km above the surface, compared with the 200-km altitude of Chang'e-1, according to the control center.

The satellite will eventually be maneuvered into an orbit just 15 kilometer above the moon. At that point, Chang'e-2 will take pictures of moon's Bay of Rainbows area, the proposed landing ground for Chang'e-3, with a resolution of 1.5 meters. The resolution on Chang'e-1's camera was 120 meters, said Wu Weiren, chief designer of China's lunar orbiter project.