In another first for China's space program, the Chang'e 1 spacecraft, launched October 24, has successfully entrered orbit around the Moon. It now enters a 12-month mission of studying our natural satellite. Pei Zhaoyu of the China National Space Administration reported, "All of the subsystems of the Chang'e 1 are in normal operation so far," and added, "The project is a comprehensive demonstration of China's economic, scientific and technological power."
Some observers have noted the timing is interesting, since Japan's first lunar probe entered its own orbit just a month ago. Given the long lead times for such missions, though, it's doubtful that timing is more than coincidence.
Thanks to Kris Winkler for this item.