China has been carrying out lunar exploration in accordance with the principle of peaceful use of outer space and has successfully launched its first lunar probe Chang'e 1, realizing the Chinese nation's 1,000-year-old dream of reaching the Moon. China's second lunar probe, Chang'e-2 has been successfully launched at 18:59:57 on October. 1, 2010.
Chang'e 2 will mainly orbit the Moon to acquire more clear and detailed image data of lunar surface and the surface data of the lunar poles. Continuing the scientific objectives of Chang'e 1, Chang'e 2 will make a further detection of the distribution of elements on lunar surface, lunar regolith thickness, and the cislunar space environment.
Chang'e 2 is the back-up satellite of lunar probe Chang'e 1, and the forerunner of Chang'e 3. As planned, Chang'e 3 will land on the Moon with a lunar rover. Therefore, a main task of Chang'e 2 is to survey the lunar surface for Chang'e 3.
The launch vehicle system and satellite system of the Lunar Exploration Program are developed and produced by China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology and China Academy of Space Technology respectively.
China's Lunar Exploration Program features three phrases: orbiting the moon, landing on the moon, and sample returning. Phase 1 had been successfully finished with the launch of Chang'e 1 in 2007, which performed the exploration of the lunar surface, geomorphy, topography, and geology. Phase 2 is underway, which involves the lunar-orbiting observation of Chang'e 2, and the probe soft-landing and lunar surface rover inspection of Chang'e 3 and Chang'e 4. Phase 3 is under project approachment.