BEIJING, Feb. 15 (Reuters) – China’s Tianwen-1 spacecraft conducted an orbital maneuver around Mars on Monday after becoming the first spacecraft in the country to explore an alien planet.
The 3000 N engine was ignited at 5 pm (Beijing time) to ensure that the probe’s trajectory passed through the poles of Mars. Periareion, the point in orbit closest to Mars, has been adjusted to 265 km, according to the Chinese National Space Administration (CNSA).
The spacecraft will report several more orbital settings to enter parking orbit, CNSA said.
The probe, including the orbiter, lander and rover, successfully entered the orbit of Mars on February 10 after a nearly seven-month journey from Earth.
The lander carrying the rover is expected to land on Mars in May or June. Chinese space engineers and scientists have chosen a relatively flat region in the southern part of Utopia Planitia, a large plain, as a potential landing zone. The rover will be released after landing to conduct scientific research.