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China's second lunar probe completes first braking

BEIJING, Oct. 6 (Xinhua) -- China's second unmanned lunar probe, Chang'e-2, completed its first braking Wednesday, which decelerated the satellite and successfully allowed it to enter a 12-hour orbit, according to the Beijing Aerospace Control Center (BACC).

Chang'e-2, following instructions from the center, started the first braking at 11:06 a.m. and entered the 12-hour elliptical moon orbit 32 minutes later.

It was the first braking for Chang'e-2. The satellite needs to brake another two times before it can enter the designed 118-minute working orbit.

The braking "laid a solid foundation" for Chang'e-2 to carry out scientific explorations in its final orbit, BACC said in a press release.

Compared with Chang'e-1, it is more challenging for Chang'e-2 to brake as it must do so at a closer distance to the moon and at a higher speed.

Long-March-3C carrier rocket carried Chang'e-2 into space blasting off from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center, in southwest China's Sichuan Province, at about 7 p.m. Friday.

To acquire more detailed moon data, Chang'e-2 will enter a lower lunar orbit about 100 km above the surface, compared with the 200-km altitude of Chang'e-1, according to the control center.

Before its first braking, the lunar probe had traveled nearly 350,000 km.

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