Second Chinese Lunar Spacecraft to be Orbiter

Aviation Week is reporting that China’s second lunar spacecraft, Chang’e 2, will orbit the Moon but not land on it, as previous reports had indicated. The magazine quotes Chinese space official Ye Peijiam as saying the spacecraft, set for launch in 2009-2010, will carry different instrumentation from its predecessor, Chang’e 1, which is now mapping the moon from lunar orbit.

The first Chinese landing on the moon is set for around 2012, with a sample return scheduled for 2017.