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China to Launch Chang’e-2 Lunar Probe Before 2011

China’s Chang’e-1 lunar probe has beamed back over a year of technical data about the moon. Given the success of this probe, China plans to Launch Chang’e-2 lunar probe satellite before 2011, according to the China News Agency. Chang’e-2 is almost identical to Chang’e-1. The difference in mission is that Chang’e-2 will circulate at 100 km above the moon’s surface, instead of the 200 km by Chang’e-1.

The vital mission for Chang’e-2 is to have a “soft landing” on the moon and to set up anything necessary for China’s planned Chang’e-3 moon landing. The design for Chang’e-3 has been completed and a model of it should be ready by the end of 2009. China plans its first moon “soft landing” in 2012 or 2013. It will collect lunar samples, which will be brought back by a vehicle in 2018.

Source: China News Agency, August 3, 2009