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The China National Space Administration (CNSA) has given an update on its Tianwen-1 Mars probe, which was successfully launched into space in July.
The probe is in a stable condition and is now more than 15 million kilometers (9 million miles) from Earth as part of its journey to the red planet, which will see it travel a total of 470 million kilometers (292 million miles).
China is yet to release any substantial information on a mysterious reusable spacecraft that returned to Earth two days after the launch of Tianwen-1.
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First orbit correction a success
Though Tianwen-1 will ultimately end up about 195 million kilometers (118 million miles) from Earth when it reaches Mars, it will have traveled 470 million kilometers (292 million miles) in total.
This is due to the fact that the probe will carry out four transfer orbit and trajectory correction maneuvers, which will see it gradually move towards the red planet in a curved trajectory as it orbits the Sun. The CNSA says that Tianwen-1 has performed its first mid-course orbital correction early last month.
The spacecraft, which consists of an orbiter, a lander, and a rover, is China's most ambitious Mars mission to date. All going well, it will be the nation other than the United States to successfully land a spacecraft on the planet.
Space race is heating up
In its update, China called its experimental reusable spacecraft, which was recovered at a designated landing site last Sunday, a breakthrough that will eventually provide relatively low-cost space transport for the CNSA. No details on the specifications of the spacecraft were revealed.
Since becoming the third nation in history, after Russia and the US, to launch a human into space in 2003, China has continued to work its way towards the leading edge in space flight.
What with new German rocket startup, Isar Aerospace Technologies, starting production this month, and China's ambitious space plans, NASA and SpaceX will have fierce competition in the coming years.