Chang'e-3 probe moves closer to the moon
Updated: 2013-12-11 00:37
BEIJING -- China's lunar probe Chang'e-3 entered an orbit closer to the moon on Tuesday night.
Following an order from the Beijing Aerospace Control Center, the probe descended from the 100 km-high lunar circular orbit to an elliptical orbit with its nearest point about 15 km away from the moon's surface, the State Administration of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defense said in a statement.
The administration said the transition was conducted above the dark side of the moon at 9:20 pm.
At 9:24 pm, it was confirmed that Chang'e-3 had entered the new orbit.
In the new orbit, the probe will prepare for a soft-landing on the moon's surface, according to the statement.
Chang'e-3, which is carrying moon rover "Yutu" (Jade Rabbit), was successfully launched on December 2 from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center.
It is expected to land on the moon in mid-December, and will be China's first spacecraft to soft-land on the surface of an extraterrestrial body.