China's lunar probe tests orbit for moon sampling

 The service module of China's unmanned experimental lunar orbiter has finished tests of orbiting technologies needed in a future sampling mission on the moon, space authorities said today.

PTI| Updated: Feb 08, 2015, 13:31 PM IST

Beijing: The service module of China's unmanned experimental lunar orbiter has finished tests of orbiting technologies needed in a future sampling mission on the moon, space authorities said today.

The orbiter conducted tests to modulate speed, height and orbit in a simulative moon sampling mission in the last two days, the State Administration of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defence said.

Such technologies will possibly be used in the country's next lunar probe mission, Chang'e-5, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.

The Chang'e-5 probe, expected for launch in 2017, will be tasked with landing on the moon, collecting samples and returning to Earth.

The current lunar orbiter was launched on October 24 last year. The orbiter's return capsule has returned to Earth in November after circling the moon during an eight-day mission while the service module continues its moon flight to carry out some preset scientific tasks.