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Moon-landing success for Chang'e-1

CHINA'S lunar probe has ended its 16-month journey with a planned crash-landing on the moon yesterday afternoon.

The Chang'e-1 hit the lunar surface at 4:13pm after orbiting the moon thousands of times to map its surface, the State Administration of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defense said.

The probe was the first step in plans to land a vehicle on the moon in 2012. 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 at 3:36pm under remote control by two observation and control stations in east China's Qingdao and northwest 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.

Chang'e-1 was launched into space on October 24, 2007, and it 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.

The planned impact was designed to accumulate experience for the landing of China's second lunar probe.

"The second phase of the space program aims at soft landing, and the preparation is currently in progress," said Wu Weiren, chief designer of the country's lunar probe program.

In the third phase, another rover will land on the moon and bring back mineral samples for scientific research in 2017.

Wu said the success of the Chang'e-1 mission had realized the dream of the whole nation and pushed forward the development of science and technology.

It also proved China was capable of exploring the outer space.

China is the third nation, after the United States and Russia, to launch people into space after Yang Liwei was sent into orbit aboard the Shenzhou V on October 15, 2003. Another three astronauts were sent into space in Shenzhou VII and carried out the country's first spacewalk in September last year, with live coverage captivating the nation.


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