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China gears up for lunar mission after round-trip success
by Staff Writers
Beijing (XNA) Nov 04, 2014

Niu Hongguang (L), deputy head of the General Armament Department of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA), Xu Dazhe (C), head of the State Administration of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defence, and Lei Fanpei (R), chairman of the board of China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation, attend the handover ceremony of the return capsule of China's unmanned lunar orbiter in Beijing, capital of China, Nov. 2, 2014. Return capsule of China's test lunar orbiter landed successfully early Saturday morning in north China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region. Image courtesy Xinhua and Shen Bohan.

The head of China's lunar probe program has called for a thorough analysis of data collected from the test lunar orbiter, which returned Saturday, to speed up work on Chang'e-5, the star of the 2017 lunar mission.

With the test lunar orbiter landing early Saturday in north China after an eight-day flight, China joined the Soviet Union and the United States and became the third nation to realize a return mission to the Moon.

"The mission was realized with stable flight and precision in launch timing, orbit entry, recovery, and all pre-set goals were achieved," said Xu Daze, also head of the State Administration of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defense, on Sunday at a cermony for the reception of the orbiter.

According to Xu, the mission marked a "breakthrough" in the third and final phase of the lunar schedule -- orbiting, landing and return -- and had heighened understanding of high-velocity re-entry mechanisms, development of new materials and innovative space equipment design.

Chang'e-5 will collect samples from the lunar surface in a mission planned for 2017.

Source: RIA Novosti


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