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China Announces "Complete Success" Of Moon Rover Landing

posted 15 Dec 2013, 13:57 by Sam Mbale   [ updated 15 Dec 2013, 13:58 ]

China announces the "complete success " of its lunar mission as lander and moon roversuccessfully took pictures of each other, state media reports. The Chinese president and prime minister watch from the Beijing Aerospace Control Centre.

BEIJINGCHINA (DECEMBER 15, 2013) (ORIGINALLY 4:3) (CCTV) -  The commander of China's lunar programme described the landing of moon rover Jade Rabbit as a complete success on Sunday (December 15), state television said.

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Chinese broadcaster China Central television (CCTV) said the lander and the moon roversuccessfully took photos of each other. The state broadcaster also showed President Xi Jinping and Prime Minister Li Keqiang watching and then congratulating staff at the Beijing Aerospace Control Centre.

The Chang'e 3, a probe named after a lunar goddess in traditional Chinese mythology, is carrying the solar-powered Yutu, or Jade Rabbit buggy, which will dig and conduct geological surveys.

China has been increasingly ambitious in developing its space programmes, for military, commercial and scientific purposes.

The official Xinhua news service reported on Saturday (December 14) that the spacecraft had touched down in the Sinus Iridum, or the Bay of Rainbows, after hovering over the surface for several minutes seeking an appropriate place to land.

A soft landing does not damage the craft and the equipment it carries. In 2007, China put another lunar probe in orbit around the moon, which then executed a controlled crash on to its surface.

The Bay of Rainbows was selected because it has yet to be studied, has ample sunlight and is convenient for remote communications with Earth, Xinhua said.

The rover is remotely controlled by Chinese control centres with support from a network of tracking and transmission stations around the world operated by the European Space Agency (ESA).

The moon landing will be seen as a demonstration of China's ability to engage in sophisticated space operations with dual use potential, as well as a point of national pride.