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Chang'e 1 launch between October 22 and 25, Chinese lunar sample-return in 2013

Chang'e-1 in orbit around the Moon. Credits: CNSA

Recently a lot of information on the upcoming launch of Chang'e-1 has become available. According to chinanews.com, Chang'e-1 will be launched between October 22 and 25. According to news.sina.cn, the launch will take place at 18:05 CST, October 24th.

Also, Sun Laiyan, the director of the National Space Administration, released some detailed information from the 11th Five-Year Plan Period (2006-2010), about the future Chinese space exploration roadmap.

Vstar separated from Kaguya (Selene)

Kaguya in orbit around the Moon. Credits: Akihiro Ikeshita/JAXA

[JAXA Press Release - 12.10.2007]
The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) performed the separation operation of one of the onboard baby satellites, the VRAD (Very Long Baseline Interferometer) Satellite* of the "KAGUYA" (SELENE.) The VRAD satellite was released at 1:28 p.m. on October 12, 2007 (Japan Standard Time, JST). The KAGUYA is a lunar explorer that was launched by the H-IIA Launch Vehicle No. 13 (H-IIA F13) on September 14, 2007, (JST) from the Tanegashima Space Center. Both the KAGUYA and VRAD satellite are confirmed to be in good health.

NASA is forming a new Lunar Science Institute

www.moontoday.com reports that NASA plans to form a NASA Lunar Science Institute (NLSI) patterned on the NASA Astrobiology Institute (NAI).

"Speaking tonight at the Division for Planetary Sciences meeting in Orlando, Stern said that the initial selection would be done of 4 to 5 lead teams at a cost of $1-2 million each.

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Rstar separated from Kaguya (Selene)

Kaguya in orbit around the Moon. Credits: Akihiro Ikeshita/JAXA

[JAXA Press Release - 09.10.2007]
The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) performed the separation operation of one of the onboard baby satellites, the Relay Satellite (Rstar,) of the "KAGUYA" (SELENE,) and the Rstar was released at 9:36 a.m. on October 9 (Japan Standard Time, JST). The KAGUYA is a lunar explorer launched by the H-IIA Launch Vehicle No. 13 (H-IIA F13) on September 14, 2007 (JST) from the Tanegashima Space Center. Both the KAGUYA and Rstar are confirmed to be in good health.

Kaguya (Selene) safely inserted into lunar orbit

Kaguya in orbit around the Moon. Credits: Akihiro Ikeshita/JAXA

[Jaxa Press Release - 05.10.2007]
The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) performed the lunar orbit injection maneuver (LOI1) for the "KAGUYA" (SELENE) at 6:20 a.m. on October 4, 2007 (Japan Standard Time, JST.) The KAGUYA is a lunar explorer launched by the H-IIA Launch Vehicle No. 13 (H-IIA F13) on September 14, 2007 (JST) from the Tanegashima Space Center. As a result of the orbit calculation after the maneuver, we have confirmed that the KAGUYA was injected into the following lunar orbit. The satellite is confirmed to be in good health.

NASA Spacecraft to Carry Russian Science Instruments

LRO in orbit around the Moon. Credits: NASA

[NASA Press Release - 03.10.2007]
NASA and the Russian Federal Space Agency Roscosmos have agreed to fly two Russian scientific instruments on NASA spacecraft that will conduct unprecedented robotic missions to the moon and Mars.

NASA Administrator Michael Griffin and Roscosmos head Anatoly Perminov signed agreements in Moscow on Oct. 3 to add the instruments to two future missions: the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, scheduled to launch in October 2008, and the Mars Science Laboratory, an advanced robotic rover scheduled to launch in 2009.

Lunar Outpost Plans Taking Shape

Astronauts and Lander on the surface of the Moon. Credits: NASA

[NASA Feature - 01.10.2007]
NASA's blueprints for an outpost on the moon are shaping up. The agency's Lunar Architecture Team has been hard at work, looking at concepts for habitation, rovers, and space suits.

NASA will return astronauts to the moon by 2020, using the Ares and Orion spacecraft already under development. Astronauts will set up a lunar outpost – possibly near a south pole site called Shackleton Crater – where they’ll conduct scientific research, as well as test technologies and techniques for possible exploration of Mars and other destinations.

NASA Seeks Proposals for Constellation Moon Suit

Lunex Honorary Member Jack Schmidt on the surface of the Moon. Credits: NASA.

[NASA Press Release - 01.10.2007]
NASA has issued a request for proposals from industry for the design, development and production of a new spacesuit system for Constellation Program voyages to the International Space Station and the moon.

The Constellation spacesuit system contract is for design, development, test, evaluation and production of equipment to support astronauts aboard the Orion crew exploration vehicle. Orion will carry astronauts on trips to explore the moon and support the space station in the next decade. NASA expects to award the contract in June 2008.

A New Lunar Impact Telescope

[NASA Feature - 28.09.2007]
NASA scientists are proving that you can go home again – if you bring a telescope with you. "Home" is north Georgia's Walker County, where astronomers Bill Cooke and Rob Suggs have just set up a research-grade observatory for their old school system.

Years ago, they won't say how many, Cooke and Suggs attended the same high school in Walker County and after school they volunteered at the Walker County Science and Technology Center. The center's telescopes fueled their fire for astronomy. They learned to operate the instruments, find their way around the night sky, and they took their first pictures of the Moon.

NASA Maps the Moon With Google

New higher resolution lunar imagery and maps including NASA multimedia content now are available on the Google Moon Web site.

Updates include new content from the Apollo missions, including dozens of embedded panoramic images, links to audio clips and videos, and descriptions of the astronauts' activities during the missions.
The new content is overlaid on updated, higher-resolution lunar maps.

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