Copyright 2007 Starry Mirror and Glen Ward
Online Astronomy Newspaper
All Original Content
EUROPE, CHINA COOPERATE TO RADIO MOON PROBE - NOVEMBER 2
The New Norca Dish
BRIDGEPORT, WV (S-M) - Chinese officials anounced yesterday that for the first time, European Space Agency stations have been used to communicate with a Chinese space probe. Following initial contact with the ESA's New Norcia station, two-way contact was made between ESA's Maspalomas, Spain station and the Chang'e-1 Moon mission on Wednesday morning.
The communications were coordinated by the European Space Operations Centre (ESOC), in Darmstadt, Germany. "The support began as planned and without any problems," Erik Soerensen, Head of the System Requirements and Validation Section at ESOC, said in a release. "We were confident it would work given the extensive preparations and intensive testing we did in close cooperation with the Chinese."
Chang'e-1 was launched October 24 from China's Xichang Launch Center, and is expected to enter lunar orbit on November 5. While en route, the craft is designed to study the Moon-Earth environment. Once in lunar orbit, Chang'e is expected to spend a year mapping the lunar surface and studying the composition of the Moon. - GW