Chang’e 2 Is Flying to the Moon


The Chinese Lunar Exploration Program, a three-step moon mission, was named after the legendary Chinese goddess of the moon, Chang’e1, 2. Chang’e 2, the second lunar orbiter of the program, is an unmanned lunar probe3. The probe is similar to its predecessor, Chang’e 1, with some improvements including a better camera with a resolution of 1 meter3. It is going to inaugurate the second phase of the mission4.

Fig. 1 Animation of Chang’e 2

At 18:59:57 on Oct, 1st, 2010, the 61st anniversary of People’s Republic of China, Chang’e 2 blasted off on a Long March 3C carrier rocket from No. 2 launch tower at the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in southwest China’s Sichuan Province4.

Fig. 2 Long March 3C rocket carrying China’s second unmanned lunar probe, Chang’e II, lifts off from the launch pad at the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in southwest China’s Sichuan Province, at 18:59:57 (Beijing time) on Oct. 1, 2010. (Xinhua/Li Gang)

Shortly after the blast off, Chang’e-2 entered the orbit with a perigee of 200 kilometers and apogee of 380,000 kilometers as scheduled as it separated from the carrier rocket5. It was the first time that a Chinese lunar probe directly entered the earth-moon transfer orbit without orbiting the earth first4. It is expected to take about 112 hours, or nearly five days, to arrive at its lunar orbit, compared with 12 days taken by the Chang’e 1 three years ago, which orbited the earth for 7 days first5.

Chang’e 2 will orbit 100 kilometers above the moon as a preparation for a soft landing by Chang’e 3, compared with 200 kilometers for Chang’e 13, 4. It will then orbit the moon in an orbit at a distance of 15km closest to the moon and at 100 km at its farthest distance from the moon6. It is planned sending back high-resolution photos of the Bay of Rainbows area, where Chang’e 3 will behave a soft landing in the future7. Other than places around the equator of  the moon have already been landed on, the Bay of Rainbows, or Sinus Iridium, is located at about 43 degrees north latitude and 31 west longitude with a width of 300 kilometers. It is considered one of the most beautiful features on the Moon7.

According to media reports, the mission of Chang’e 2 has a total cost of about 00 million yuan(134.33 million U.S. dollars)3, 8.

References:

1. Chang’e 1.

2. Chinese Lunar Exploration Program.

3. Chang’e 2.

4. China’s 2nd lunar probe Chang’e-2 blasts off.

5. China’s 2nd moon probe Chang’e-2 enters earth-moon transfer orbit.

6. China’s second lunar probe ready to launch.

7. China’s lunar probe to target rarely explored Bay of Rainbows.

8. China Launches Second Robotic Moon Probe.

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One Response to Chang’e 2 Is Flying to the Moon

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