China - CNSA
Chang’e 1: Lunar Orbit

Mission Details

Mission Name: Chang’e 1
Mission Type: Lunar Orbiter
Operator: CNSA (China National Space Administration)
Launching State: China
Location: Mare Fecunditatis
Latitude: -1.66
Longitude: 52.27
Launch Date: 24 October 2007, 10:05:04 UT
Landing Date: 1 March 2009, 08:13:10 UT
Objects on or Related to Site:
Chang’e 1
Image Source: National Astronomical Observatories of China


The goal of the Chang’e 1 mission was to prove basic technologies, test out several engineering systems and “create a 3D map of the lunar surface, to analyze the distribution of certain chemicals on the lunar surface, to survey the thickness of the lunar soil, to estimate helium 3 resources, and to explore the space environment (solar wind, etc.) in near-lunar space.

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Heritage Consideration

On Nov. 12, 2008, Chinese space authorities issued a full-Moon image map produced using CE-1 images taken over 589 orbits covering 100 percent of the lunar surface with a 400-foot (120-meter) resolution. It was the most accurate and highest resolution 3D map of the lunar surface.

Object on or Related to Site

Object Name: Chang’e 1
Cospar: 2007-051A
Norad: N/A
Location: Precise location unknown or undisclosed.
Launch Date: 24 October 2007, 10:05:04 UT
Landing Date: 1 March 2009, 08:13:10 UT
Deployment: N/A
End Date: N/A
Function: Technology confirmation and mapping.
Image Source:
National Astronomical Observatories of China


The Chang’e 1 orbiter was the first of a series of Chinese missions to the Moon. The primary technical objectives of the mission are to develop and launch China’s first lunar orbiter, validate the technology necessary to fly lunar missions, build a basic engineering system for lunar exploration, start scientific exploration of the Moon, and gain experience for subsequent missions.

The primary science objectives are to obtain three-dimensional stereo images of the lunar surface, analyze the distribution and abundance of elements on the surface, survey the thickness of lunar soil and to evaluate helium-3 resources and other characteristics, and to explore the environment between the Moon and Earth.

Chang’e 1 orbited the Moon for four months beyond its planned one year lifetime, testing the technology for future missions and studying the lunar environment and surface regolith. It exercised a planned impact north of Mare Fecunditatis at 52.36 E, 1.50 S on 1 March 2009 at 08:13 UT. The Chang’e program is named for a Chinese legend about a young goddess who flies to the Moon.

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