According to the Oriental Morning Post, China's lunar orbiter Chang'e I is expected to be launched in 2007. Giant radio telescopes on the ground will be ready to monitor and trace the orbiter all the time. Now the development and construction of Chang'e I are still in progress; however, astronomical observatory has begun simulation tests ahead of time.
Sources from the Shanghai Astronomical Observatory (SHAO) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences confirmed that the observatory, the National Astronomical Observatories, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Commission of Science Technology and Industry for National Defense, and China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation jointly completed the simulation test and managed to receive the weak signals similar to those from objects over 300,000 km away.
Wei Wenren, principal engineer of the VLBI (very-long-baseline-interferometry) division of SHAO, said that the Chang'e I was expected to enter the space 300,000 km away from the earth. To ensure the distant observation of Chang'e I by radio telescopes, China's astronomical observatories have to carry out tests that send out analogue signals similar to those from the orbiter 300,000 km away.
According to Wei, due to its advantages of high altitude and vast visual field, the Urumqi Observatory of the National Astronomical Observatories was assigned to carry out the test.
(chinanews June 16, 2005)