A Chinese unmanned lunar orbiter has entered the lunar orbit with the rotation time of 127 minutes on Tuesday.
The craft has made three orbit transfers since Sunday, Chinese news agency Xinhua reported. After spin stabilization the service module of the lunar orbiter will be flying at an altitude of 200 kilometers above the Moon’s surface to validate key technologies for the next lunar probe mission.
The lunar orbiter was launched on October 24. The flight is being made as part of Chinese lunar exploration program. The project has three stages. At first stage probes were launched that allowed making a 3D Moon’s surface map and setting landing areas for next crafts. At second stage in 2013 China brought its self-propelled lunar rover on the Earth’s satellite surface.
China also makes massive launches of weather satellites. On the last day of December a second-generation polar-orbiting satellite used for environmental monitoring was orbited.
China is also finalising a spacecraft for far flights.
“We cannot forget that any country with the space potential has its plans and ambitions in the space industry,” deputy chief of Federal Space Agency Roscosmos Sergey Savelyev told the Rossiiskaya Gazeta daily, noting “there is a major difference in the level of scientific and technological development.
“As for China, the idea is to fill Russian-Chinese space partnership programme with more large-scale projects. For instance, to explore the Venus and other close planets in the Solar System. Chinese partners are interested in these issues.”
Russian cosmonauts may visit the Tiangong-1 orbital Chinese manned spacecraft in the future and Chinese counterparts may visit the International Space Station (ISS), Russian space agency chief Oleg Ostapenko said earlier.
This variant has already been discussed in confidential talks with Russian specialists, Ostapenko said.