[FPSPACE] China moonshot: 7 AM EDT Friday

Phillip Clark phillipclark at btinternet.com
Fri Oct 1 04:16:09 EDT 2010

The launch time implies that the lunar GHA will be approximately 37 degrees.

For a 28.5 deg parking orbit, this suggests a transit time of about 105 hours (maybe an hour or so less).   Less than the predicted five days but certainly on the fifth day of the flight.

Phillip Clark

  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: James Oberg 
  To: deenakristihays at howardbloom.net ; HowlBloom at aol.com 
  Sent: Friday, October 01, 2010 5:11 AM
  Subject: China moonshot: 7 AM EDT Friday

  Jim Oberg advises:

  1. China has announced the launch time on Friday
  for its second moon probe --  7 PM Beijing Time, or
  11:00 GMT. That's 7 AM EDT.

  2. The time is confirmed by official 'notices to airmen'
  about keep-out zones for falling rocket parts, which
  bracket this liftoff time.

  3. Since it's a deep-space probe the launch 'window'
  is probably fairly short, a few minutes or so.

  4. There ought to be live video feed, but it may take
  a little while to locate a good source.

  Jim O



  China Daily: Countdown Begins for China's 2nd lunar Mission

  Beijing China Daily Online in English 0045 GMT 01 Oct 10

  [Article by Xin Dingding from the "China" page: "Countdown Begins for China's 2nd lunar Mission"]

  XICHANG, Sichuan - The exact launch time for the country's second lunar probe was announced as authorities said the mission faces three major challenges.

  Chang'e-2, a circumlunar satellite that will test key technology involved in a soft-landing on the moon around 2013, is scheduled to blast off from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center at 6:59:57 pm on Friday, a spokesman for the China National Space Administration said.

  If the launch misses that slot it could be rescheduled for Saturday or Sunday, he said.

  Wu Weiren, chief designer of China's lunar exploration program, told China National Radio on Thursday that weather conditions were a concern.

  Drizzle or light rain would not interrupt the launch, but thunderstorms could, he said.

  Showers are forecast to last until Monday in Xichang and the city was hit by a thunderstorm on Thursday night.

  Scientists denied that the launch time was chosen to mark National Day, saying the launch date was purely coincidental and determined by other factors.

  "According to scientific calculations, only three days (from Friday to Sunday) are suitable in the whole year for launching the lunar probe," said Qian Weiping, chief designer of the mission's tracking and control system, on Thursday.

  "On each of the three days, the launch window is different, and the point where the probe enters the preset lunar transfer orbit could be hundreds of kilometers apart," he said.

  Though the first lunar probe mission provided valuable information, the Chang'e-2 mission still faces unknown risks.

  The first challenge is whether the rocket can directly send the probe into the Earth-moon transfer orbit. Simply put, Chang'e-2 will go directly into Earth-moon transfer orbit rather than orbit the Earth first. The Chang'e-1 used a different procedure, orbiting the Earth first on its mission, chief designer Wu said.

  The second challenge is whether the probe can be captured by the moon's gravitational pull. "If the braking is not well handled, the probe could either crash into the moon, or fly away (from the preset orbit)," he said.

  The third risk involves when the probe is maneuvered to an orbit just 15 km from the moon. At that point it will take high-resolution photos of the moon's Bay of Rainbows area where Chang'e-3 will land.

  Wu said the maneuver to lower the orbit has to be done when the probe is on the dark side of the moon, so that when it flies to the bright side it can take the photos. As the tracking and control system is unable to reach the dark side, the success of the operation relies on the satellite's technology.

  Sun Jiadong, chief commander of the program's first mission, also said that the maneuver to lower orbit will be a critical time and is a huge challenge to the country's orbital maneuver technology.

  As the countdown begins, the attention of the whole country has turned to the small city in Southwest China.

  Since Thursday, tourists planning to watch the launch have started to flock into the city and hotels say they are fully booked for Friday despite room rates increasing.

  Local travel agencies said some 3,000 people can witness the event from a venue 4 km away from the launch pad but will have to pay 480 yuan ($72) each.



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