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China’s lunar probe tests orbit for moon sampling

Updated: Feb 8,2015 11:13 AM     Xinhua

BEIJING — The service module of China’s unmanned test lunar orbiter has finished tests of orbiting technologies needed in a future sampling mission on the moon.

The orbiter conducted three times of tests between Feb 6 and Feb 7 to modulate the speed, height and orbit in a simulative moon sampling mission, according to a statement of the State Administration of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defense on Feb 8.

Such technologies will possibly be used in the country’s next lunar probe mission, Chang’e-5.

The Chang’e-5 probe, expected for launch in 2017, will be tasked with landing on the moon, collecting samples and returning to Earth.

The current lunar orbiter was launched on Oct 24, 2014. The orbiter’s return capsule has returned to Earth in November after circling the moon during an eight-day mission while the service module continues its moon flight to carry out some preset scientific tasks.

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