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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Continuing our look at the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission’s 2019 Report to Congress, we present the following excerpt concerning senior Chinese government officials with aerospace and technical backgrounds. [Full Report]
Confused by the acronyms in the table below? Parabolic Arc has added descriptions of the listed ministries and companies.
Many officials with backgrounds in the state defense complex have moved to senior government positions. While not all of these officials have backgrounds in space specifically, the result of these moves has been that senior Chinese political leaders often have a stronger technical understanding of the space sector than their foreign counterparts (see Addendum I listing key Chinese officials with aerospace sector backgrounds).
Continuing our look at the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission’s 2019 Report to Congress, we examine how China is seeking to shape the governance of space activities. [Full Report]
by Douglas Messier Managing Editor
China’s actions in asserting sovereignty over the disputed South China Sea could serve as a model by which that nation would claim extraterrestrial resources and consolidate its control over key space assets, a new report to the U.S. Congress warned.
“Contrary to international norms governing the exploration and commercial exploitation of space, statements from senior Chinese officials signal Beijing’s belief in its right to claim use of space-based resources in the absence of a clear legal framework specifically regulating mining in space,” according to the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission’s 2019 report.
BEIJING (CNES PR) — Wednesday 6 November, on the occasion of President Emmanuel Macron’s state visit to the People’s Republic of China, CNES President Jean-Yves Le Gall and Zhang Kejian, Administrator of the China National Space Administration (CNSA), signed in the presence of Presidents Macron and Xi Jinping a joint statement covering two fields of investigation.
First, in 2023 China’s Chang’e 6 lunar mission will fly the French DORN instrument proposed by the IRAP astrophysics and planetology research institute. DORN’s science goals are to study the transport of volatiles through the lunar regolith and in the lunar exosphere and lunar dust.
The year 2018 was the busiest one for launches in decades. There were a total of 111 completely successful launches out of 114 attempts. It was the highest total since 1990, when 124 launches were conducted.
China set a new record for launches in 2018. The nation launched 39 times with 38 successes in a year that saw a private Chinese company fail in the country’s first ever orbital launch attempt.
The Associated Pressreports 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.
China’s aggressive long-range program explore the moon includes a heavy focus on the south pole where probes have detected water.
China’s Chang’e-4 mission is currently exploring the moon with a rover and lander on the far side. The vehicles are communicating with Earth via an orbiting spacecraft. The Chang’e-4 mission also includes two lunar CubeSats, one of which is still operational.
China plans to launch the Chang’e-5 mission by the end of 2020 to bring back soil samples from the lunar surface. The plan is to bring back at least 2 kg (4.4 lb) of soil from the Mons Rümker region in the northwest section of the moon.
Xinhua reports there are three other moon missions planned in the years ahead:
Chang’e-7, set for launch in 2023, will carry out comprehensive surveys of the south pole;
Chang’e-6, scheduled to be launched in 2024, will bring back samples from the lunar south pole; and,
Chang’e-8, scheduled for launch in 2027, will test technologies to lay the ground work for a research base on the lunar surface.
China expects to conduct crewed missions to a lunar base sometime during the 2030’s.
The Chang’e 4 robotic probe is expected to land on the South Pole–Aitken basin on the silver sphere’s far side sometime between Wednesday and Thursday, according to information from China Aerospace Science and Technology Corp, a major contractor of the country’s lunar exploration programs.
The State-owned conglomerate previously said that the spacecraft would fly 26 days before landing on the lunar surface.
Chang’e 4 was lifted atop a Long March 3B carrier rocket on Dec 8 at the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in Southwest China’s Sichuan province to fulfill the world’s first expedition on a lunar region that never faces the Earth.
The lander includes the following payloads:
landing and terrain cameras;
a low-frequency spectrometer;
a lunar lander neutrons and dosimetry (LND) dosimeter supplied by Kiel University in Germany;
a container with silkworm eggs and seeds of potatoes and Arabidopsis thaliana; and,
a miniature camera to record the growth of the eggs and seeds.
The rover’s payloads include:
a panoramic camera;
a lunar penetrating radar system;
a visible and near-infrared imaging spectrometer; and,
and an advanced small analyzer for neutrals (ASAN) analyzer provided by the Swedish Institute of Space Physics (IRF) to measure the interaction of the solar winds with the lunar surface.
The lander and rover will communicate with the Chang’e 4 relay satellite, which was launched last year.