Dec 17, 2013
China needs to build a deep space monitoring station abroad because the existing network is not capable of tracking deep space detectors round the clock, a leading scientist said on Monday.
Despite having two monitoring stations in the country, there are still eight to ten hours a day during which China cannot track its deep space detectors, said Zhou Jianliang, chief engineer of the Beijing Aerospace Control Center, at a press conference.
"It is imperative to build a deep space monitoring station abroad in order to make up for blind measurements and realize round-the-clock monitoring for future deep space missions," Zhou said.
The stations in Kashgar, in northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, and Jiamusi, in northeast China's Heilongjiang Province, were put into operation in 2012.
The two stations helped control lunar probe Chang'e 2, which was launched on Oct. 1, 2010, to fly by Toutatis, an asteroid about seven million km away from Earth on Dec. 13, 2012.
Chang'e 2, which is about 65 million km from Earth, is still being monitored by the two stations, according to Zhou. (Xinhua)
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