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China launches Mars mission
Posted: Sun, Jul 26, 2020, 1:05 PM ET (1705 GMT)
Long March 5 launch of Tianwen-1 (CASC) China successfully launched an ambitious Mars mission Thursday. A Long March 5 rocket lifted off from the Wenchang Satellite Launch Center at 12:41 am EDT (0441 GMT) carrying the Tianwen-1 spacecraft. The China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation confirmed a successful trans-Mars injection burn 40 minutes later. Tianwen-1 is due to arrive at Mars in February 2021, entering a highly elliptical orbit. The spacecraft will then move to a near-polar orbit with a periapsis of 265 kilometers for two to three months before attempting to land a rover on the surface in the Utopia Planitia region of Mars. The ambitious mission includes seven science payloads on the orbiter, such as a high-resolution camera comparable to HiRISE on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. The rover, designed to last 90 Mars days, carries six instruments, including cameras, spectrometers and a ground-penetrating radar.
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