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China's first lunar probe enters moon orbit

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

[Xinhua Press Release - 05.11.2007]
China's first lunar probe, Chang'e-1, successfully completed its first braking at perilune and entered the moon's orbit Monday morning, becoming China's first circumlunar satellite.

Chang'e-1, following the instructions of the Beijing Aerospace Control Center (BACC), started braking at 11:15 a.m. at a position around 300 km away from the moon and entered the moon's orbit at around 11:37 a.m. after completing the braking, according to the BACC.

NASA Announces New Center Assignments for Moon Exploration

Concept of one potential design for a future lunar rover. Credits: NASA

[NASA Press Release - 30.10.2007]
NASA announced Tuesday which agency centers will take responsibility for specific work to enable astronauts to explore the moon. The new assignments cover elements of the lunar lander and lunar surface operations. The agency also announced work assignments for Ares V, a heavy-lift rocket for lunar missions.

"NASA's Constellation Program is making real progress toward sending astronauts to the moon," said Rick Gilbrech, associate administrator for Exploration Systems, NASA Headquarters, Washington. "Work on our new fleet of rockets and spacecraft, Ares I and Orion, is already well under way. With these new assignments, NASA will launch the next phase of its exploration strategy - landing crews and cargo on the surface of the moon."

NASA to Establish Nationwide Lunar Science Institute

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

[NASA Press Release - 30.10.2007]
NASA has announced its intent to establish a new lunar science institute. This effort, with dispersed teams across the nation, will help lead the agency's research activities for future lunar science missions related to NASA's exploration goals.

Named the NASA Lunar Science Institute (NLSI), the effort will be managed from NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif. Ames currently manages a similar distributed NASA Astrobiology Institute.

ICEUM9 declaration released

ILEWG Logo. Credits: ILEWG

[ILEWG Press Release - 30.10.2007]
We are proud to release the ICEUM9 Sorrento Lunar Declaration, endorsed unanimously by the participants on 26 October, on the last day of 9th ILEWG International Conference on Exploration and Utilisation of the Moon (ICEUM9).

It is now posted on the ILEWG website at:
http://sci.esa.int/science-e/www/object/index.cfm?fobjectid=41506

NASA to Announce Work Assignments to Enable Lunar Exploration

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

[NASA Press Release - 29.10.2007]
On Tuesday, Oct. 30, NASA will take another important step toward returning astronauts to the moon by assigning key future Constellation Program work to its field centers. The agency's Exploration Systems Mission Directorate will host a media roundtable at 1 p.m. EDT at NASA Headquarters, 300 E St., S.W., Washington.

Briefers will be:
Rick Gilbrech, NASA associate administrator for exploration systems Doug Cooke, NASA deputy associate administrator for exploration systems Jeff Hanley, Constellation Program manager

Lunar Explorers Society hands out the first 'Best Young Lunar Explorers Paper Award'

The Lunex award session at ICEUM9/ILC'07. Credits: Lunex

[Lunar Explorers Society Press Release - 28.10.2007]
The Lunar Explorers Society (Lunex) handed out the "Best Young Lunar Explorers Paper Award" for 2007 during the 9th International Conference on Exploration and Utilization of the Moon (ICEUM9), to a team from the 2007 Alpbach Summer School program.

The paper was awarded the 'Best Young Lunar Explorers Paper Award' because of the clarity of the presentation and the originality of the proposed mission concept.

Lunar Explorers Society awarded the Young Lunar Explorers Award

The Lunex award session at ICEUM9/ILC'07. Credits: Lunex

[Lunar Explorers Society Press Release - 25.10.2007]
The Lunar Explorers Society (Lunex) was awarded the Young Lunar Explorers Award at the 9th International Conference on the Exploration and Utilization of the Moon (ICEUM9), October 24th 2007. Lunex was nominated and elected as the winner of the award by the International Program Committee of IECUM9.

The prize was awarded to Lunex because of its work to involve young people in lunar exploration. In the last year Lunex has resumed its activities after a few years of inactivity, and has successfully organized workshops, tutorials, brainstorming sessions and conference sessions for young lunar explorers on several conferences around the world. It has also supported several young lunar explorers to attend the ICEUM9 this year.

Chang'e-1 launched!

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

The Chinese Chang'e-1 lunar probe was successfully launched on a Long March 3A from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in Southwest China's Sichuan Province on 5:05 a.m. October 24th (CST). It is named after the Chinese goddes of the Moon and is the first Chinese Lunar mission.

Chang'e-1 weighed 2350 kg on launch, of which approximately half was fuel. The payload suite weighs around 130 kg. Change'e-1 carries a scientific payload which will perform a wide variety of experiments from its orbit around the Moon. Within the mission duration of one year, Chang'e-1 will create a 3D model of the moon surface and determine the contents and distribution of a number of chemical elements on the lunar surface, among other things. It carries 7 instruments alltogether.

NASA Offers $2 Million Lunar Lander Competition Prize

Northrop Grumman Lunar Lander Challenge Logo. Credits: X Prize

[NASA Press Release - 24.10.2007]
During the X PRIZE Cup Oct. 27-28, NASA's Centennial Challenges Program will offer prizes totaling $2 million if competing teams successfully meet the requirements of the Northrop Grumman Lunar Lander Challenge. The challenge will take place at Holloman Air Force Base, in Alamogordo, N.M.

The purpose of the lunar lander challenge is to accelerate technology development leading to a commercial vehicle that could one day be capable of ferrying cargo or humans back and forth between lunar orbit and the moon's surface.

Kaguya (Selene) completed critical phase

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

[JAXA Press Release - 21.10.2007]
The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) injected the KAGUYA main satellite in its scheduled orbit and shifted its operation mode to the regular control mode. Both the KAGUYA main satellite and its two baby satellites are in good health. The "KAGUYA" (SELENE) is a lunar explorer launched by the H-IIA Launch Vehicle No. 13 (H-IIA F13) on September 14, 2007, (Japan Standard Time, JST) from the Tanegashima Space Center.

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