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Chinese Unmanned Lunar Orbiter Returns Home
SOURCE: Xinhua     UPDATED: 2014-11-02

BEIJING, Nov. 1 (Xinhua) -- Return capsule of China's test lunar orbiter landed successfully early Saturday morning in north China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, according to the Beijing Aerospace Control Center.

After eight days of space flight, the orbiter made a skip re-entry at an altitude of around 120 kilometers. The process helped the spacecraft slow down and avoid being burnt up by intense heat generated by air resistance.

Launched Friday last week, the lunar orbiter traversed 840,000 kilometers in its mission that has seen it round the far side of the Moon and take some incredible pictures of Earth and Moon together. The last documented mission of this kind was made by the former Soviet Union in the 1970s.

The mission is testing technology that will be used in the Chang'e-5 mission, scheduled for 2017 when an unmanned spacecraft will land on the moon, collect a soil sample and return to Earth.