China, U.S. Exchanged Data on Chang’e-4 Moon Landing

A view of the moon from the Chang’e-4 lander. (Credit: CNSA)

The Associated Press reports that China and the United States exchanged data about the landing of the former’s Chang’e-4 spacecraft on the moon earlier this month despite severe limits placed on space cooperation between the two nations by the U.S. Congress.

The space agency’s deputy director, Wu Yanhua, said NASA shared information about its lunar orbiter satellite in hopes of monitoring the landing of the Chang’e 4 spacecraft, which made China the first country to land on the far side of the moon earlier this month.

China in turn shared the time and coordinates of Chang’e 4’s scheduled landing, Wu told reporters during a briefing on the lunar mission. He added that while NASA’s satellite did not catch the precise moment of landing, it took photographs of the area afterward.

The state-run China Daily said that was the first such form of cooperation since the 2011 U.S. law was enacted.

  • Saturn1300

    Here is where it landed. WOW! If it was a guided landing, then they sure don’t have to go far for Rabbit to have something interesting to look at. There are a lot of areas around there that are safer to land. I think their computer or RC flier was pretty bad. Or they faked the landing and it lucked out. Maybe I am just cautious. I mean they think even from this altitude and prior close ups there is no way this site should have been chosen.Of course I am chicken.

    Now landing ’20 Mars is different. 1 big crater, good can hit that. Now computer says we are heading for that spot. It checks the library to a ” resolution. No craters. That looks like a sand dune. Better alter course. Ah an open area that the library said was good. Fire that L thruster to move R. Looks good. No craters so finding finding good landmarks to match may be difficult.

  • Lee

    From AvLeak:

    “Because of the rough surface of the far side of the Moon, Chang’e 4 had to make a precise landing and a nearly vertical descent: Approaching as Chang’e 3 did, along a shallow arc and with less precision, would have risked crashing into some topographical feature. Controllers initiated descent from an altitude of 15 km (50,000 ft.), at which time the craft was moving at 1.7 km/sec. (3,800 mph) relative to the Moon. A rapid attitude adjustment was made at 6-8 km altitude. At 100 m (330 ft.) altitude, the craft hovered to survey the terrain; it identified obstacles and chose a relatively flat spot, to which it slowly descended.”