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Rocket gets ready for launch

0 CommentsPrint E-mail CNTV, October 1, 2010
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The rocket carrying China's second unmanned lunar probe, the Chang'e 2, has entered the final stage of its pre-launch preparations. Officials announced on Wednesday that the country will launch the satellite at an appropriate time between October 1st and 3rd.

The Long March CZ-3C rocket will boost the Chang'e 2 into space from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in southwest China's Sichuan Province.

Fueling the rocket, the last procedure before liftoff, began at 9 AM Thursday.

Zhang Zhixing, Chang'e 2 fueling director said "We're now in the fueling control room. We need about 100 tons of impelling material for conventional fuel. The fuel is now flowing in from the Number 56 valve, and traveling all the way to the front of the pump. The pump will send it to the storage area of the rocket."

The rocket's first and second stage boosters were fueled with conventional propellents, which took about five hours.

The third stage booster will be fueled with cryogenic propellent, which is lighter, and allows for more power.

The fueling of this part will not start until eight hours ahead of the launch. Once the cryogenic propellent is added to the rocket, the launch process will be irreversible.

The rocket will carry Chang'e 2 to a trans-lunar orbit. The satellite is then expected to take about 112 hours, or nearly five days, to reach its final orbit around the moon.

The lunar probe will test key technologies and collect data for future landings of Chang'e 3 and Chang'e 4. It will also provide high-resolution photographs of the landing area.

Chang'e 2 was produced as a successor to Chang'e 1, which was launched in October 2007.

The Chang'e probe series is named after a legendary Chinese moon goddess.

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