SUMMARY: The European Space Agency's SMART-1 spacecraft has completed its 50th orbit of the Earth; operating its ion engine for more than 560 hours. The engine can only fire for half of the orbit because the spacecraft needs to raise its orbit until it reaches the Moon. ESA controllers have performed a series of tests on the spacecraft, and almost everything seems to be working perfectly - there's a minor problem with its star-tracker. The spacecraft is expected to reach the Moon by March 2005, when it will begin mapping surface minerals and ice.

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