China's space probe Chang'e-2 has flew to an outer space about 50 million km from the Earth, marking a new height in the nation's deep space exploration, Chinese scientists said on Sunday.
The probe, which is now "in good conditions", reached the height at around 1 a.m. Sunday Beijing Time, the State Administration of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defence (SASTIND) said in a statement.
Chang'e-2 will be able to travel to a distance as far as 300 million km away from Earth, according to calculations done by scientists from the Beijing Aerospace Control Center.
Chang'e-2 was launched on October 1, 2010 from Xichang Satellite Launch Center in southwest China and later orbited the moon to finish a more extensive probe than its predecessor Chang'e-1.
On June 9, 2011, after finishing its lunar objectives, Chang'e-2 left its lunar orbit for an extended mission to the Earth-Sun L2 Lagrangian point.
Since its blast-off, Chang'e-2 has made multi-faceted achievements: being the first to capture full coverage map of the moon with a resolution of seven meters; being the first object ever to reach the L2 point directly from lunar orbit.
On December 13, 2012, the probe flew by Toutatis, an asteroid about seven million km away from the Earth, making China the fourth after the United States, the European Union and Japan to be able to examine an asteroid by spacecraft.
Chang'e-2's extended missions, which were conducted millions of km away from Earth, have tested China's spacecraft tracking and control network, including two newly built measuring and control stations in the northwest Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region and northeast Heilongjiang province, sources with the SASTIND said in an interview in December 2012.
(Xinhua News Agency July 14, 2013)