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China to send orbiter to moon and back: Report

China will launch its latest lunar orbiter in the coming days, state media said on Wednesday.

Updated:October 22, 2014, 10:55 PM IST
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China to send orbiter to moon and back: Report
China will launch its latest lunar orbiter in the coming days, state media said on Wednesday.

Beijing: China will launch its latest lunar orbiter in the coming days, state media said on Wednesday, in its first attempt to send a spacecraft around the moon and back to Earth.

The spacecraft, which has not been named, will launch between Friday and Sunday, China's official Xinhua news agency reported.

It is China's first lunar module capable of returning to Earth, which will require withstanding the high temperatures that develop when a probe re-enters the terrestrial atmosphere.

It is intended to test technology to be used in the Chang'e-5, China's fourth lunar probe, which aims to gather samples from the moon's surface and will be launched around 2017, according to China's State Administration of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defence (SASTIND).

Beijing sees its multi-billion-dollar space programme as a marker of its rising global stature and mounting technical expertise, as well as evidence of the ruling Communist Party's success in turning around the fortunes of the once poverty-stricken nation.

The military-run project has plans for a permanent orbiting station by 2020 and eventually to send a human to the moon.

China currently has one moon rover, the Jade Rabbit, on the surface of the moon.

The craft, launched as part of the Chang'e-3 lunar mission late last year, has been declared a success by Chinese authorities, although it has been beset by mechanical troubles.

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