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China’s First Lunar Satellite Chang’e 1 Enters Lunar Orbit

Unmanned lunar-orbiting spacecraft

China’s First Lunar Satellite Chang’e 1 Enters Lunar Orbit

Chang'e 1 was an unmanned Chinese lunar-orbiting spacecraft, part of the first phase of the Chinese Lunar Exploration Program. The spacecraft was named after the Chinese Moon goddess, Chang'e.

Chang'e 1 was launched on 24 October 2007 at 10:05:04 UTC from Xichang Satellite Launch Center. It left lunar transfer orbit on 31 October and entered lunar orbit on 5 November. The first picture of the Moon was relayed on 26 November 2007. On 12 November 2008, a map of the entire lunar surface was released, produced from data collected by Chang'e 1 between November 2007 and July 2008.

The mission was scheduled to continue for a year, but was later extended and the spacecraft operated until 1 March 2009, when it was taken out of orbit. It impacted the surface of the Moon at 08:13 UTC.[2] Data gathered by Chang'e 1 was able to create an accurate and high resolution 3-D map of the lunar surface. Chang'e 1 is the first lunar probe to conduct passive, multi-channel, microwave remote sensing of the Moon by using a microwave radiator.

Its sister orbital probe Chang'e 2 was launched on 1 October 2010.

The Chinese Lunar Exploration Program is designed to be conducted in three phases of incremental technological advancement: The first is simply reaching lunar orbit, a task completed by Chang'e 1 in 2007 and Chang'e 2 in 2010. The second is landing and roving on the Moon, as Chang'e 3 did in 2013 and Chang'e 4 did in 2019. The third is collecting lunar samples from the near-side and sending them to Earth, a task for the future Chang'e 5 and Chang'e 6 missions. The program aims to facilitate a crewed lunar landing in the 2030s and possibly build an outpost near the south pole.

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