The Estrack teams at ESOC will be on console today to track the descent of the Chang’E-3a lander and rover, followed by surface radio location support to the lander.

New Norcia station, W. Australia Credit: ESA/S. Marti

New Norcia station, W. Australia Credit: ESA/S. Marti

Read our full report in the ESA website: ESA teams ready for Moon landing

Engineers will also be working on site at New Norcia (NNO) and Cebreros (CEB) stations in Australia and Spain.

At ESOC, work began just after 11:00 CET this morning, with engineers staffing the Estrack control room to conduct some final verification checks on the network connections to NNO and CEB.

NNO’s tracking of the descent (open-loop recording) starts at 13:26 CET and will continue through the lunar-descent phase to assist in radio location tracking of the lander on the surface (until19:45 CET), to help fix its precise locations.

CEB comes online at 17:05 CET for radio location tracking (we need two stations for the ultra-precise Delta-DOR location-fixing technique), also lasting until 19:45 CET.