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News Link • Space Travel and Exploration

China's Chang'e-3 makes successful Moon landing

• http://www.gizmag.com, By Brian Dodson
 At this point, Chang'e-3's solar panels were opened to begin charging the rover's batteries for its first drive about the lunar surface, which is expected to begin about seven hours after landing.

Chang'e-3 began its descent from the lowest part of its orbit, some 15 km (9 miles) above the Moon's surface. During its descent to an altitude of 2 km (1.2 mi), deceleration reduced the 1.71 km/s (1.06 mi/s) orbital velocity of the Chang'e-3 to zero. At 2 km altitude, the automatic landing sequence cut in, setting Chang'e-3 on course for its landing in Sinus Iridum (Sea of Rainbows) without further control from Earth.

At an altitude of 100 meters (330 ft), the Chang'e-3 began to hover over the surface, building a map of ground conditions and landing obstacles. Hovering was planned to last up to 100 seconds, but actually only took about 20 seconds.

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