Sunday, November 2, 2014

China celebrates successful “Xiaofei”

Xiaofei, China's 'little flyer,' flight dynamics test platform for the scheduled Chang'e-5 sample return mission in 2017, appears charred but otherwise none the worse for ware following a high-speed direct re-entry from the Moon, encountering Earth's outer atmosphere at an estimated 11.2 km per second, early November 1, 2014 [Xinhua].
Tom Phillips
London Daily Telegraph

China has taken one more step in its ambitious plans to become a global space power by completing the successful re-entry and landing of an unmanned space probe.

The “Xiaofei” or "Little Flyer" lunar orbiter began re-entry into the earth’s atmosphere at 6.13am on Saturday and subsequently landed in Inner Mongolia, state media reported.

The probe was launched eight days ago and travelled more than 520,000 miles during its mission around the Moon.

The mission to the Moon was “another step forward for China's ambition that could eventually land a Chinese citizen there,” Xinhua, China’s official news agency, said. It was “the world's first mission to the Moon and back for some 40 years”.

Saturday’s landing is the latest advance for a space program that China’s leaders see as an important way of commanding international respect. Some Chinese scientists have said they hope space exploration might help them discover precious natural resources that could help satisfy the country’s ravenous hunger for raw materials.

Read the full article from the Telegraph, HERE.