24 October 2007

Chang'e 1 launched

ZUI this article from China View (Xinhua.net):
China launched its first lunar probe on Wednesday, the first step into its ambitious three-stage moon mission, marking a new milestone in the country's space exploration history.

The circumlunar satellite Chang'e-1 blasted off on a Long March3A carrier rocket at 6:05 p.m. from the No. 3 launching tower in the Xichang Satellite Launch Center of southwestern Sichuan Province.

Space experts from Japan, Germany and other countries joined their Chinese colleagues at the launch site to watch the launching process.

"The launch was very successful, and everything is proceeding just as it's planned," said Wu Ji, director of the Space Science and Applied Research Center under the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS).

And this from NASA Spaceflight.com:
At the beginning of a 35 minute launch window that opened at 10:05 UTC, a CZ-3A Chang Zheng-3A (CZ3A-15) was launched from the Xichang Satellite Launch Centre, located in Southwest China's Sichuan Province, carrying the first Chinese lunar probe, Chang'e-1 (ChangEr-1).

This was the 104th successful orbital Chinese launch, the 45th successful orbital launch from Xichang, the ninth orbital Chinese launch in 2007 and the sixth launch from Xichang in the current year.


After leaving Earth orbit on October 31, Chang'e-1 will initiate a five day journey until arrive into lunar orbit on November 5. The first image of the surface is expected at the end of November.

For centuries, Chinese mythology told the story of a beautiful woman that lived on the Moon for over 4000 years. The beautiful Chang'e was banished to the Moon because she stole the secrete of immortality from her husband. Within days the beautiful Chang'e will have another companion orbiting her house in the form of a Chinese lunar probe that marks the first phase of the China Lunar Exploration Plan (CLEP).

The CLEP is the third milestone for the China's Space Industry and was born in 1998, as part of a 211 step development plan for the Chinese space program. This plan originated from the work done since 1991, when Chinese experts proposed a lunar exploration program and conducted some advanced research on the theme.

NASA'a mission profile for Chang'e 1 is here. Space.com has further information here.

And Xinhua.net talks about the Chang'e legend here.

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