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China's lunar probe Chang'e-1 lands on Moon

March 01, 2009 19:53 IST
China's lunar mission aiming to send 'robotic explorers' before 2020, on Sunday landed its first satellite on Moon, as the Communist nation braces to compete in space technology with countries like the United States, Russia and India.

Chang'e-1, China's first lunar probe, impacted the moon on Sunday, said sources with the state administration of science, technology and industry for national defence.

It represents the first step in the Chinese ambition to land robotic explorers on the moon before 2020.

The satellite ended its 16-month mission when it hit the lunar surface at 1.50 degrees south latitude and 52.36 degrees east longitude.

Chang'e-1 began to reduce its speed under remote control by two observation and control stations in east China's Qingdao and north-west China's Kashi.

This was the first phase of China's three-stage moon mission, which will lead to a landing and launch of a rover vehicle around 2012, the official Xinhua news agency reported.

Chang'e-1 was launched into space on October 24, 2007 and sent the first full map of the moon's surface back to China one month later.

A dozen performance tests were carried out while Chang'e-1 was in orbit to find out its orbit adjustment capability.

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