Luxembourg lunar probe piggybacks aboard rocket

Updated: 2014-10-27 14:09

(China Daily USA)

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Hitching a ride on the experimental spacecraft China launched on Friday is a small spacecraft from Luxembourg produced by that country's space company LuxSpace.

OHB AG, a European company involved in space technology, security telematics and satellite services, and the parent company of LuxSpace, announced on its website that the LuxSpace module, the Manfred Memorial Moon Mission, was launched on Friday at the Xichang Satellite Launch Center on the same Long March 3C rocket as the Chinese craft.

It is at least the second time a carrier rocket has sent a Chinese spacecraft on a mission with a module from Luxembourg doubling up for the boost into space. In January 2012, China launched the Ziyuan III satellite from the Taiyuan Satellite Launch Center in Shanxi province. That rocket carried a satellite from Luxembourg.

Questions e-mailed to LuxSpace and OHB AG went unanswered on Friday.

Like China's spacecraft, LuxSpace's probe will orbit the moon, which it will reach in approximately 90 hours. It will transmit messages in memory of Manfred Fuchs, the OHB founder who died this year, along with greetings to the world.

Radio amateurs worldwide were invited to receive the transmissions and send data to the probe, which will measure radiation levels along its course around the moon before returning earthward.

(China Daily USA 10/27/2014 page5)