Thursday, March 12, 2009 - By Shabnam Sultan - 0 comments
Preliminary information indicated that the fairing on the Taurus XL did not separate from the rocket as planned about 10 minutes into the flight.
The fairing is a clamshell structure that encapsulates the satellite as it travels.
The satellite ended its 16- month mission on March 1, 2009 when it hit the lunar surface at 1.50 degrees south latitude and 52.36 degrees east longitude.
This is the first phase of China's three-stage moon mission, which will lead to a landing and launch of a rover vehicle around 2012.
"Chang'e" is name after legendary Chinese Moon goddess.
NASA plans to launch the Lunar Reconnaissance (LRO)as well as the Lunar Crater Observation an Sensing Satellite (LCROSS) on an Atlas V rocket from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
One of the instruments on Chandrayaan-I, which is currently circling the Moon, is a compact imaging radar known as Mini-SAR developed by the U.S scientists to look for signs of water-ice at the bottom of lunar craters that are permanently in shadow. A similar sort of radar, called Mini-RF, is flying on LRO as well.