China to launch Chang'e-5 lunar sample-return mission in late Nov

Source: Global Times Published: 2020/11/17 10:43:25

Photo: CNSA

The Chang'e-5 lunar probe along with its carrier rocket Long March-5 Y5 commissioned for the probe have been vertically transported to their launch site after they completed assembly and testing at the Wenchang Space Launch Center in South China's Hainan Province on Tuesday, the Global Times learned from the China National Space Administration (CNSA).

The Long March-5 Y5 is scheduled to launch the Chang'e-5 lunar sample return mission in late November, CNSA revealed. 

Preparation work on the rocket has been completed, including assembly and pre-launch testing, after it was transported in the specialized cargo ship Yuan Wang to the southeastern port of Wenchang in late September, and then delivered by road to the Wenchang Space Launch Center.

On Tuesday morning, the mobile launch platform transferred the carrier rocket to the launch area after a smooth roll-out from the vertical test plant, which took around two hours. 

Propellant will be injected into the rocket after further functional checks and final inspections. The rocket will then be launched according to schedule.

The mission marks the second application launch of the Long March-5, after the first carried China's first Mars probe mission, Tianwen-1, into space in late July. 

The Chang'e-5 lunar probe is the sixth mission of China's lunar exploration project. It is planned to carry out lunar sample collection and return from the lunar surface, collecting data for scientific research on the environment and evolution of the moon. 

The probe is one of the most complex and difficult missions in China's aerospace industry to date, CNSA said. 

The Chang'e-5 is expected to carry out four key missions in the country's aerospace industry: China's first sample return, the first takeoff from the lunar surface, the first unmanned rendezvous and docking on the lunar orbit some 380,000 kilometers away, and the first high-speed re-entry into Earth's atmosphere. 

If the Chang'e 5 mission is successful, China will become the third country in the world to bring lunar samples back after the US and Russia. 


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