by Staff Writers
Moscow (Sputnik) Jan 13, 2015
The service module of China's unmanned test lunar spacecraft successfully entered orbit in Sunday after slowing down, the Beijing Aerospace Control Center reported.
According to instruction, the module decelerated and entered an 8-hour elliptical moon orbit with a perilune of 200 kilometers and an apolune of 5,300 kilometers.
According to the center, the orbiter has sustained balanced energy and is in good condition. Tracking of the service module was stable, and relevant tests were carried out smoothly.
The module is set to make its second and third braking maneuver on January 12 and 13 respectively to enable it to enter the target 127-minute orbit for testing technologies which are vital for the success of the country's first lunar mission, Chang'e-5, center's chief engineer Zhou Jianliang said.
"The first braking is the most crucial," Zhou said as quoted by Xinhua news agency. "Precise braking must be performed at perilune to prevent it from flying away from the moon."
The lunar orbiter was launched on October 24. It reached the Earth-Moon second Lagrange Point in late November and left it on January 4 after completing all preset tasks.
The probe Chang'e-5 is expected to be sent to the Moon, collect samples and return to Earth in 2017.
The Chinese Lunar Exploration Program has a three phase design. The first phase was aimed at orbiting the Moon, with the second phase having the objective of making a soft landing, while the third phase purports to bring a sample of the lunar surface back to Earth.
Chang'e-5 is expected to be sent to the Moon, collect samples and return to Earth in 2017.
Source: Sputnik International
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