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What is Chang'e project

10-01-2010 16:34 BJT Special Report: Chang’e 2- Journey to the Moon |

China's moon exploration project, Chang'e, was named after a Chinese legend about a goddess who flew to the moon. Since its launch in 2004, this program has been attracting tremendous attention from around the world. What's the program about? What significance does it have on China's manned lunar landing plan?

The Chang'e lunar exploration program was initiated on January 23rd, 2004. The satellite's mission consists of three major phases, namely orbiting, landing, and returning. The first spacecraft of the program, Chang'e 1, was an unmanned lunar orbiter that took off from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center on October 24th, 2007. The second lunar orbiter, Chang'e 2, is launched on October 1st. It conducts research within the moon's orbit to lay the foundation for Chang'e 3 and Chang'e 4's future landing. Chang'e 2 is similar to its predecessor in appearance, but boasts several improvements in techniques including a better stereo camera with higher resolution.  
Sun Huixian, Deputy Chief Architect Chang'e 2, said, "The satellite's mission consists of three major phases, orbiting, landing, and returning. Chang'e 2 is part of the second phase of the project. It aims to assist in the landing of future probes, but Chang'e 2 does not land on the moon. In this sense, we view it as a guiding satellite for the second stage of the lunar probe project."

The second stage of the lunar exploration system will also include the launch of two lunar probes, Chang'e 3 and Chang'e 4. They will be equipped with small remote-controlled moon buggies to inspect the moon's surface and explore resources.

Wu Weiren, Chief Designer Chang'e 2, said, "Currently, Chang'e 3 and Chang'e 4 are still in the research and development process. We hope they will be able to land on the moon and deploy lunar rovers for surface exploration in 2013."

The third phase of the lunar exploration program is estimated to take place in 2017. If the missions prove fruitful, it could pave the way for manned lunar landings in 2025 and beyond.

Editor:James |Source: CNTV

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