China’s Space Effort Undergoing a Sea Change – MSNBC.com

 J Msnbc Components Photos 070314 070314 Change1 Hmed 2P.Rp420X400 “Beijing makes plans for new rockets, island spaceport, barge transport,” from MSNBC.com

For its first week in space, China’s lunar orbiter circled Earth in elongated orbits with ever-increasing high points. Like a child in a swing pumping both legs to fly higher, the Chang’e spacecraft repeatedly fired its small thrusters to test its steering before the big jump all the way to the moon.

On Wednesday, the jump began. Between now and Nov. 5, any aiming or propulsion errors could be catastrophic. The true test of China’s aspirations beyond Earth orbit is well under way. [Full Text]

[Image source: An artist’s interpretation of the China’s Chang’e 1 lunar orbiter slated for launch in 2007, msnbc.com]

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