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“Chang'e-5”
Team Confirms Water on the Moon with Ground Equipment
View of the Chang’E-5 landing site. (Credit: CNSA/CLEP)

MANOA, Hawaii (University of Hawaii PR) — The first on-the-ground detection of water on the Moon’s surface was reported by an international team of researchers, including Shuai Li, a planetary geologist at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa. Understanding the concentrations and distributions of water on the Moon is critical to understanding its formation and evolution, and to providing water resources for future human exploration.

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  • January 22, 2022
EPSC 2021: Exotic Mix in China’s Delivery of Moon Rocks
Panoramic image taken after sampling of the lunar surface by Chang’e-5. The four dark trenches in the lower right corner of this image are where samples were collected. Abundant centimetre-sized boulders exist on the surface around the Chang’e-5 landing site. [Credit: CNSA (China National Space Administration) / CLEP (China Lunar Exploration Program) / GRAS (Ground Research Application System)]

STRASBOURG, France (Europlanet Society PR) — On 16 December 2020 the Chang’e-5 mission, China’s first sample return mission to the Moon, successfully delivered to Earth nearly two kilograms of rocky fragments and dust from our celestial companion.  

Chang’e-5 landed on an area of the Moon not sampled by the NASA Apollo or the Soviet Luna missions nearly 50 years ago, and thus retrieved fragments of the youngest lunar rocks ever brought back for analysis in laboratories on Earth. The rocks are also different to those returned decades ago. Early-stage findings, which use geological mapping to link ‘exotic’ fragments in the collected samples to features near the landing site, have been presented by Mr Yuqi Qian, a PhD student at the China University of Geosciences, at the Europlanet Science Congress (EPSC) 2021 virtual meeting.

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  • October 3, 2021
Launch 2020: China’s Space Program Continued to Surge with a Number of Firsts
Long March 3B lifts off from Xichang Satellite Launch Center. (Credit: China Aerospace Science and Technology Group)

China’s surging space program showed no sign of slowing down last year as it tied its own launch record and moved ahead with ambitious space missions and a set of new launchers.

China compiled a record of 35 successes and four failures in 2020. That matched the number of launch attempts made in 2018, a year that saw 38 successes and a single failure.

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  • June 24, 2021
Launch 2020: A Busy Year Filled with Firsts in the Face of COVID-19 Pandemic
A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying the company’s Crew Dragon spacecraft is launched from Launch Complex 39A on NASA’s SpaceX Demo-2 mission to the International Space Station with NASA astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley aboard, Saturday, May 30, 2020, at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida (Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls & Joel Kowsky)

SpaceX dominated, China surged and Russia had another clean sheet as American astronauts flew from U.S. soil again in a year of firsts.

First in a series

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, 2020 was a very busy launch year with a number of firsts in both human and robotic exploration. A total of 114 orbital launches were attempted, with 104 successes and 10 failures. It was the same number of launches that were conducted in 2018, with that year seeing 111 successes, two failures and one partial failure.

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  • June 22, 2021
Chang’e-5 Orbiter Enters Sun-Earth Lagrange Point

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 […]

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  • March 30, 2021
Chang’e-5 Collected 1.7 kg of Lunar Materials
Chang’e-5 sample container. (Credit: CNSA)

BEIJING (CNSA PR) — On the morning of December 19, the National Space Administration held a lunar sample handover ceremony for the lunar exploration project Chang’e 5 mission in Beijing. Together with some participating units, they witnessed the handover of the samples to the mission ground application system, marking that the Chang’e 5 mission was completed The implementation phase has officially shifted to a new stage of scientific research, which kicked off our country’s first extraterrestrial celestial body sample storage, analysis and research work.

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  • December 20, 2020
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.

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  • December 16, 2020
Chang’e-5 Return Vehicle on Way Back to Earth

China’s Chang’e-5 is on its way back to Earth with precious samples of lunar regolith heading for a landing in Inner Mongolia later this week. Chang’e-5’s orbiter and return capsule entered lunar-Earth transfer orbit on Sunday after a 22-minute burn of its engine. The vehicles made a mid-course correction with a 28-second burn on Monday. The return capsule is carrying about 2.2 kg (4.4 lb) of lunar regolith obtained on […]

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  • December 15, 2020
PolyU-made Space Instruments Complete Lunar Sampling for Chang’e 5
Professor YUNG Kai-leung (right) and Dr Robert TAM have developed valuable experience from participating in several lunar exploration projects of the Nation. (Credit: Hong Kong Polytechnic University)

HONG KONG, 8 December 2020 (PolyU PR) — In support of the Nation’s first lunar sample return mission, a research team at The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) developed and manufactured one of the key systems for this historic undertaking, namely the “Surface Sampling and Packing System”, in collaboration with the China Academy of Space Technology.

The PolyU-developed system accomplished the tasks of automatic sample collection and packaging on the lunar surface following the soft landing of the Chang’e 5 probe on 1 December 2020. The vehicle carrying the samples is currently on course back to Earth, and is expected to touch down in China’s Inner Mongolia region next week.

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  • December 12, 2020
Video: Chang’e-5 Orbiter-Sample Return Vehicle Separates from Ascender

Video Caption: Having completed its mission, Chang’e-5’s ascender separated from the orbiter-sample return vehicle. According to Gao Lei(CNSA official), the orbiter-returner will orbit the Moon for about six to seven days, then enter the Earth-Moon transfer orbit, and experience another three to four days of flight before returning to Earth”. For the rendezvous and docking operations Chang’e-5 used a microwave radar. After docking, the lunar samples were transferred from the […]

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  • December 6, 2020