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China opens space teleoperation centre

Beijing, Dec 15: China's first centre designed for teleoperation of deep space missions was formally opened at the Beijing Aerospace Control Center following its successful trial use on the country's first moon rover early on Sunday.

The moon rover Yutu, or Jade Rabbit, separated from the lander at 4.35 a.m. on Sunday, several hours after the Chang'e-3 probe soft-landed on the lunar surface, reports Xinhua.

The successful separation and soft-landing marked the formal operation of the centre, where technicians can fully control and monitor the working conditions of the rover and lander.

The centre provides 40 seats for operating posts ranging from commanding to route planning.

"A three-dimensional technique was used in order to clearly know the working conditions of the moon rover," said Zhou Jianliang, chief engineer of the Beijing Aerospace Control Center.

The Chang'e-3 landed on the moon's Sinus Iridum, or the Bay of Rainbows, at 9.11 p.m. on Saturday, establishing China as the third country in the world capable of carrying out such a rover mission after the US and former Soviet Union.

The soft-landing was carried out 12 days after the probe blasted off on a Long March-3B carrier rocket from southwest China.

Zhou said that commands for future deep space explorations will also be issued from the centre.

Teleoperation indicates operation of a machine at a distance.

Update: 15-December-2013


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