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Chinese lunar orbiter ends mission with crash landing
Posted: Sun, Mar 1, 2009, 12:06 PM ET (1706 GMT)
Chang'e-1 illustration (CNSA) China's first mission to the Moon ended Sunday when the spacecraft deorbited and crashed to the lunar surface, as planned. Chang'e-1 hit the lunar surface at 3:13 am EST (0813 GMT) just south the equator, according to Chinese officials. The spacecraft, China's first mission to the Moon, launched in October 2007 and entered lunar orbit the following month for what was planned to be a one-year mission that was later extended; no advance public notice was given of plans to deorbit the spacecraft this weekend. China is planning a second lunar orbiter in the next two years, to be followed by landers and sample return missions later next decade.
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