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CNSA: China likely to launch first moon orbiter at 6 pm on Oct. 24
2007-10-22 05:20:19 Xinhua English

BEIJING, Oct. 22 (Xinhua) -- China is planning to launch its first moon orbiter at around 6 p.m. on October 24 from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in Sichuan Province.

"The satellite will be launched between October 24 and 26 and our first choice is around 6:00 p.m. on October 24," a spokesman for the China National Space Administration (CNSA) said.

The circumlunar satellite, which has been named Chang'e I after the legendary Chinese goddess who, according to legend, flew to the moon, and the carrier Long March 3A have passed all pre-launch tests and have been transported to the launch site.

The lunar probe is expected to enter earth-moon transfer orbit on October 31 and arrive in the moon's orbit on November 5.

The satellite will relay the first picture of the moon in late November and will then continue scientific explorations of the moon for a year.

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