Chang’e-5 Orbiter Enters Sun-Earth Lagrange Point

The PolyU-developed system successfully completed the automatic sample collection and packaging on the lunar surface, and is currently on the journey back to Earth. (Credit: Hong Kong Polytechnic University)

BEIJING (CNSA PR) — The Chang’e-5 orbiter has entered a periodic orbit near the Sun-Earth L1 point, achieving the first-stage expansion mission goal and becoming my country’s first spacecraft to enter the Sun-Earth L1 periodic orbit. At present, the whole machine has stable attitude, balanced energy, and normal working conditions. It runs for about 6 months in this orbit.

The Chang’e-5 orbiter separated from the returner on December 17, 2020. After being transferred to the long-term management stage on December 21, it carried out two orbital maneuvers and two midway corrections. After 88 days of flight, it was At 13:29 on the 15th, it successfully entered the periodic orbit near the sun-earth L1 point and carried out follow-up missions.

The full name of “solar-earth L1 point” is “solar-earth Lagrangian L1 point”, which is located between the line of the sun and the earth, about 1.5 million kilometers away from the earth. At the “sun-earth L1 point”, the relative position of the object relative to the sun and the earth remains basically unchanged. 

There are periodic orbits and quasi-periodic orbits near the Lagrangian point. In theory, spacecraft can move along these orbits and observe the sun or the sun-facing surface of the earth without interruption.

China’s First Mars Spacecraft Enters Orbit Around the Red Planet

First released picture of Mars from China’s Tianwen-1 spacecraft. (Credit: China National Space Administration)

BEIJING (China National Space Administration PR) — At 19:52 on February 10, 2021, China’s first Mars exploration mission, Tianwen-1, carried out near-fire capture braking. The 3000N orbital control engine of the orbiter ignited for about 15 minutes, and the probe successfully entered the near-fire altitude.

A large elliptical orbit of 400 kilometers, with a period of about 10 Earth days and an inclination of about 10º, has become my country’s first man-made Mars satellite, achieving the goal of “orbiting, landing, and patrolling.” Zhang Kejian, director of the National Space Administration and commander-in-chief of the first Mars exploration mission, announced the success of orbiting Mars.

Zhang Kejian said that in the early hours of this morning, the UAE “Hope” has successfully entered the orbit of the ring fire. I would like to congratulate the UAE colleagues and wish the U.S. “Perseverance” a successful landing on Mars in the coming days! Exploring the vast universe is the common dream of all mankind. We will cooperate sincerely and go hand in hand with countries all over the world to make mankind’s exploration of space go further. On the occasion of the New Year holiday, on behalf of the first Mars exploration mission engineering headquarters, I would like to extend Chinese New Year blessings to all the participants in the research! I hope that everyone will keep in mind General Secretary Xi Jinping’s “starting a new journey of interstellar exploration one step at a time”, and make persistent efforts, meticulous organization, and precise implementation to ensure the complete success of the “Tianwen No. 1” project mission of “circumnavigation, patrol”.

After the first Mars exploration mission entered the Mars capture phase from the ground fire transfer phase, the medium-resolution camera, high-resolution camera, magnetometer, mineral spectrum analyzer, ion and neutral particles and energy particles carried by the Tianwen-1 orbiter The payloads such as sounding instruments will continue to work to carry out multi-dimensional exploration of Mars.

Since its successful launch on July 23, 2020, the Tianwen-1 probe has accumulated 202 days of flight, completed 1 deep-space maneuver and 4 midway corrections, and had a flight mileage of approximately 475 million kilometers upon reaching Mars, and a distance of approximately 1.92 from Earth. 100 million kilometers, the one-way delay of device-to-ground communication is about 10.7 minutes, and each system is in good condition. Subsequent Tianwen-1 will undergo several orbital adjustments, enter the Mars mooring orbit, and carry out pre-selected landing zone exploration. It is planned to choose an opportunity to land on Mars from May to June 2021 and carry out inspections.

Chang’e-5 Lunar Sample Lands in China

Chang’e-5 capsule after landing under parachute in Inner Mongolia.

BEIJING (CNSA PR) — At 1:59 on December 17, Beijing time, the lunar exploration project Chang’e-5 returner successfully landed in the planned area of ​​Siziwang Banner, Inner Mongolia, marking the successful completion of our country’s first extraterrestrial celestial body sampling and return mission.


Video: Chang’e-5 Ascender Docks with Orbiter-Return Vehicle

Video Caption: The Chang’e-5 ascender automatically docked with the orbiter-sample return vehicle on 5 December 2020, at 21:42 UTC (6 December, at 05:42 China Standard Time).

At 22:12 UTC (6 December, 06:12 CST), the sample container, containing the soil collected from the Moon, was transferred from the ascender to the sample return vehicle.

Chang’e-5 will orbit the Moon for a few days, waiting for adequate window to return to Earth.

Credit: China Central Television (CCTV)/China National Space Administration (CNSA)

Chang’e-5 Collects Lunar Soil Sample

After landing on the moon’s Ocean of Storms on Tuesday, China’s Chang’e-5 lander got right to work collecting soil samples that will be returned to Earth.

The China National Space Administration (CNSA) reports that lander drilled into the lunar surface, extracted a sample, and sealed it up in a container. Chinese media report the hole was 2 meters (6.5 ft) deep.

Chang’e-5 will also collect samples using a robotic arm and scoop. The lander is expected to collect 2 kg (4.4 lb) of soil.

Once sample collection is completed, an ascender will lift off from the moon for a rendezvous and docking with the Chang’e-5 spacecraft in lunar orbit. Launch from the lunar surface could come on Thursday.

The soil samples will be transferred to a sample return vehicle which will travel back to Earth for a parachute landing in China some time in mid-December.

If successful, China will become only the third nation after the United States and the Soviet Union to return samples from the lunar surface.

Chang’e-5 to Collect Lunar Samples Over 2 Days

Image taken by the landing camera of the Chang’e-5 probe after a soft landing (Credit: CNSA)

BEIJING (CNSA PR) — At 23:11 on December 1, the Chang’e-5 probe successfully landed on the pre-selected landing area on the nearside of the moon at 51.8 degrees west longitude and 43.1 degrees north latitude, and returned the landing image.

At 22:57 on December 1, the combination of Chang’e-5 lander and ascender began to perform a power drop from about 15 kilometers away from the moon surface. The 7,500 N variable thrust engine was turned on, and the relative speed of the probe relative to the moon was gradually increased from about 1.7 km/sec. 

During this period, the probe made rapid attitude adjustments and gradually approached the moon surface. After that, automatic obstacle detection was carried out. After the landing site was selected, the obstacle avoidance and slow vertical descent began, and the land steadily landed in the area north of the Rumker Mountain in the Ocean of Storms. During the landing, the landing camera equipped with the lander took an image of the landing area.

After the successful landing, the lander under ground control has carried out inspection and setup work, such as the deployment of the solar wing and the directional antenna, and will officially start the lunar surface work lasting about 2 days to collect lunar samples.

Chang’e-5 Lander Separates, Touchdown Expected in Next Few Days

BEIJING (CNSA PR) — On November 30, the flight control team of the Chang’e-5 mission of the lunar exploration project implemented the separation of the lander and ascender assembly of the Chang’e-5 probe from the orbiter and returner assembly as planned. At 4:40 in the morning, under the precise control of scientific and technical personnel, the Chang’e-5 detector assembly separated smoothly. 

Up to now, the detector systems are in good condition, and the ground measurement and control communication is normal. The orbiter and returner assembly will continue to fly on the lunar orbit with an average altitude of about 200 kilometers and wait for the ascender to rendezvous and dock, and the lander and ascender assembly.

The opportunity will be chosen to implement a soft landing on the lunar surface, and follow-up work such as automatic sampling.

China’s Chang’e-5 Spacecraft Enters Lunar Orbit

BEIJING (CNSA PR) — At 20:58 on November 28, Beijing time, the Chang’e-5 probe flew to the moon for about 112 hours and successfully ignited a 3000 N engine at a distance of about 400 kilometers from the lunar surface. About 17 minutes later, the engine shut down normally. According to real-time telemetry data monitoring and judgment, the Chang’e-5 probe braked normally in the recent month and entered the orbit around the moon smoothly.

Near-moon braking is one of the key orbital controls during the flight of the lunar probe. When the high-speed probe approaches the moon, it will apply “brake” braking, in order to make its relative speed lower than the moon’s escape speed, and thus be captured by the moon’s gravity.

The Chang’e-5 probe underwent two orbit corrections during the Earth-Moon transfer process and achieved the expected goal. In the future, the Chang’e-5 probe will adjust the height and inclination of the orbit around the moon, the lander and ascender assembly will be separated from the orbiter and returner assembly, implement the lunar frontal soft landing, and carry out the lunar surface automatic sampling as planned. .

China Launches Chang’e-5 Lunar Sample Return Mission

Long March 5 launches the Chang’e-5 mission to the moon. (Credit: CNSA)

BEIJING (CNSA PR) — At 4:30 on November 24th, China used the Long March 5 carrier rocket to successfully launch the lunar exploration project Chang’e-5 probe at the Wenchang Space Launch Site in China.

After the rocket flew for about 2,200 seconds, the probe was successfully sent into the scheduled trajectory, starting China’s first return journey from sampling of extraterrestrial objects.


Rogozin Say NASA’s Artemis Plans “too American-centric,” See “Great Prospects” for Chinese Cooperation

Roscosmos head Dmitry Rogozin. (Credit: A. Savin)

Translated from Russian

MOSCOW (Roscosmos PR) — Dmitry Rogozin, General Director of the State Corporation Roscosmos, took part in the 71st International Astronautical Congress, which takes place from 12 to 14 October 2020. Due to the epidemiological situation, the congress is being held online for the first time in 70 years of its existence. In his opening remarks, Dmitry Rogozin emphasized the importance of international cooperation in space.

“With regard to the International Space Station, we are negotiating with partners in the program to extend the life of the station until 2028 or 2030. There are various scenarios and options for the further development of the ISS. For our part, we are ready to consider any option offered by our partners and make a joint agreed decision, “the head of Roscosmos said, stressing that the State Corporation is firmly committed to guaranteeing the preservation of Russia’s place in low Earth orbit, regardless of the decisions made regarding service life of the ISS.


France, China to Cooperate on Earth Observation, Lunar Exploration and More

PARIS (CNES PR) — Monday, September 28, 2020, Jean-Yves Le Gall, President of CNES, met with Zhang Kejian, Administrator of the CNSA (China National Space Administration). 

Their last meeting took place in Beijing on November 5, 2019 on the occasion of the official visit of the President of the Republic to China and the signing of the Joint Declaration on Cooperation Relating to the Chang’e 6 Mission and a Mission satellite for monitoring the water cycle.


Chang’e 4 Lander and the Yutu 2 Lunar Rover Awakened Autonomously and Entered 21st Day Work Period

Chang’e-4 mission photo of lunar far side. (Credit: CNSA)

BEIJING (CNSA PR) — On the far side of the moon, with a new round of dawn, the Chang’e 4 lander and the Yutu 2 lunar rover ended their moon night dormancy at 14:54 on August 13 and 20:34 on August 12, respectively.

Wake up spontaneously by light and enter the 21st day working period. The working conditions of the two instruments are normal, the energy is balanced, and the exploration journey on the back of the moon continues.

According to the panoramic camera stitched image, DOM image and other data, the Yutu-2 lunar rover will drive to the basalt or high-reflectivity impact crater area northwest of the current detection point during the daytime work period of this month. 

Chang’e-4 mission photo of lunar far side. (Credit: CNSA)

At that time, the panoramic camera, infrared imaging spectrometer, and central atom detector will be turned on for detection, and the moon-measuring radar will carry out simultaneous detection during driving.

In addition, the Yutu-2 lunar rover plans to choose an opportunity to carry out panoramic ring shooting in the higher terrain at the junction of the two impact craters (the edge of the degraded impact crater).

Yutu 2 Reveals Possible Causes of Unknown Gelatinous Substance on Moon

Yutu-2 lunar rover near an impact crater. (Credit: China National Space Administration)

BEIJING (China National Space Administration PR) — Since landing on the back of the moon, the Chang’e 4 lander and the Yutu-2 lunar rover have been operating successfully for more than 500 days, and have achieved many results in the scientific fields such as the material composition and underground structure of the landing zone.


Chang’e-4 Exceeds 400 Days & 400 Meters on Far Side of the Moon

China’s Yutu 2 rover drives off the Chang’e-4 lander. (Credit: CNSA)

BEIING (China National Space Administration PR) — On the far side of the distant moon, after 14 days of moonlight, the sun shone again on the Chang’e 4 lander and the Yutu 2 lunar rover, and the Chang’e 4 lander and the Yutu 2 lunar rover returned to work.

Awakened independently on March 18, and entered the 16th day work period. The ground was confirmed to be in good condition and the working conditions were normal, and a new round of scientific detection was carried out as planned. “Yutu No. 2” lunar rover traveled to the new target point and started exploring again on the back of the moon.


China Using Space to Further Geopolitical Goals

Completing our look at the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission’s 2019 Report to Congress, we examine how China is using its space program to achieve the nation’s geopolitical and economic goals. [Full Report]

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

China is using its growing space program to achieve a range of geopolitical and economic goals, including attracting partners for its Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), improving economic and political ties with other countries, and deepening others’ reliance on its space systems and data services.

“Beijing views its space program as key to elevating its leadership profile in international space cooperation, including through BRI, and establishing a dominant position in the commercial space industry,” according to the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission’s 2019 Report to Congress.