Chang’e-4 Prepares for Landing on Moon’s Far Side

Von Karman crater, the planned landing site for Chang’e-4.

China’s Chang’e-4 spacecraft lowered its orbit around the moon on Sunday in preparation for a landing on the lunar far side, Xinhua reports. The mission consists of a stationary lander and a rover.

The probe has entered an elliptical lunar orbit, with the perilune at about 15 km and the apolune at about 100 km, at 8:55 a.m. Beijing Time, said CNSA.

Since the Chang’e-4 entered the lunar orbit on Dec. 12, the ground control center in Beijing has trimmed the probe’s orbit twice and tested the communication link between the probe and the relay satellite Queqiao, or Magpie Bridge, which is operating in the halo orbit around the second Lagrangian (L2) point of the earth-moon system….

The control center will choose a proper time to land the probe on the far side of the moon, according to CNSA.

France Outlines Plans for Space Cooperation with China

BEIJING (CNES PR) — In the presence of Bernard Larrouturou, General Director of Research and Innovation, Jean-Yves Le Gall, President of CNES, spoke on Monday, December 10, 2018 in Beijing, as part of the preparation of the joint scientific and technological committee Franco -Chinese and presented the space cooperation between France and China.

On this day, he also had the opportunity to speak with Wang Zhigang, Minister of Science and Technology, Zhang Kejian, CNSA Administrator, and Wang Zhenyu, head of the CNSA’s Office of International Cooperation. Chinese Academy of Sciences.

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PolyU Develops State-of-the-Art Tool & Tech to Support Chang’e-4 Mission

Professor Kai-leung Yung with a model of the Chang’e-4 lunar lander. (Credit: PolyU)

HONG KONG (PolyU PR) — The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) proudly supports the nation’s current lunar exploration, Chang’e-4 lunar probe, with advanced technologies, namely the design and development of an advanced Camera Pointing System, and an innovative lunar topographic mapping and geomorphological analysis technique in landing site charaterisation for the space craft.

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Video: A Closer Look at the China’s Chang’e-4 Lunar Mission

Video Caption: China’s Chang’e-4 lunar mission was launched by a Long March-3B rocket from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center, Sichuan Province, southwest China, on 7 December 2018, at 18:23 UTC (8 December at 02:23 local time). The Chang’e-4 (嫦娥四号) lunar mission (lander and rover) is scheduled to land in the Aitken crater, located in the Aitken Basin, in the South Pole region on the far side of the Moon.

Chang’e-4 Relay Satellite Enters Planned Orbit

Von Karman crater, the planned landing site for Chang’e-4.

Chinese officials report the Chang’e-4 relay satellite has entered its planned orbit, where it will await the year-end launch of the program’s lunar lander and rover bound for the far side of the moon.

The satellite, named Queqiao (Magpie Bridge) and launched on May 21, entered the Halo orbit around the second Lagrangian (L2) point of the Earth-Moon system, about 65,000 km from the Moon, at 11:06 a.m. Thursday after a journey of more than 20 days.

“The satellite is the world’s first communication satellite operating in that orbit, and will lay the foundation for the Chang’e-4, which is expected to become the world’s first soft-landing, roving probe on the far side of the Moon,” said Zhang Hongtai, president of the China Academy of Space Technology (CAST)….

He said the Halo orbit was a three-dimensional irregular curve. It is extremely difficult and complex to maintain the satellite in orbit.

“If there is a tiny disturbance, such as gravitational disturbance from other planets or the Sun, the satellite will leave orbit. The orbit period is about 14 days. According to our current plan, we will conduct orbit maintenance every seven days,” Zhang said.

Russia, China Sign Lunar Cooperation Agreement

TOKYO (ROSCOSMOS PR) — On March 3, 2018, the Roscosmos State Corporation and the Chinese National Space Administration, in the framework of the International Space Development Forum (ISEF) in Tokyo, signed an agreement on intentions for cooperation in the field of exploration of the Moon and deep space, and the creation of a Data Center on lunar projects.

The sides expressed their readiness to consider the possibility of cooperation in the implementation of the Russian mission to launch the orbital spacecraft Luna-Resurs-1 (Luna-26) in 2022, as well as the planned Chinese mission for landing in the region of the south pole of the Moon in 2023. The document was signed by the general director of Roskosmos state corporation Igor Komarov and the deputy head of the Chinese national space administration Y. Yanhua.

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Luxembourg Deputy PM in China to Sign Agreements on Space Resources

LUXEMBOURG (Government PR) — Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economy Etienne Schneider will pay a working visit to the People’s Republic of China from January 15 to 16, 2018.

The Luxembourg delegation will travel to Beijing where Etienne Schneider will meet with political and economic leaders. The Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Economy will be, among others, welcomed by the Minister of Commerce, Zhong Shan, to take stock of the development of trade relations between the two countries.

Interviews with senior officials from the China Academy of Science and the Chinese Space Agency will also be on the agenda. During these interviews, cooperation agreements between Luxembourg and the People’s Republic of China will be signed in the scientific and spatial field, and more particularly in the field of exploration and use of resources in space.

ESA Astronauts Train with Chinese for Future Space Missions

ESA astronaut Matthias Maurer jumping from a Chinese Shenzou capsule during sea survival training, on 19 August 2017. ESA astronauts. (Credit: ESA–Stephane Corvaja, 2017)

YANTAI, China (ESA PR) — ESA astronauts Samantha Cristoforetti and Matthias Maurer joined 16 Chinese astronauts earlier this month for nine days of sea survival training off China’s coastal city of Yantai. The ultimate goal is for ESA to establish a long term cooperation with China and ESA astronauts to fly on China’s space station.

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FAA Releases Annual Compendium of Commercial Space Transportation

faa_compendium_2016The Annual Compendium of Commercial Space Transportation: 2016

Executive Summary

The size of the global space industry, which combines satellite services and ground equipment, government space budgets, and global navigation satellite services (GNSS) equipment, is estimated to be about $324 billion. At $95 billion in revenues, or about 29 percent, satellite television represents the largest segment of activity. Following this is government space budgets at $76 billion, or 24 percent, and services enabled by GNSS represent, about $76 billion in revenues. Commercial satellite remote sensing companies generated on $1.6 billion in revenues, but the value added services enabled by these companies is believed to be magnitudes larger. Because remote sensing value added services includes imagery and data analytics from other sources beyond space-based platforms, only the satellite remote sensing component is included in the global space industry total.

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UAE Space Agency Signs MOU With China

UAE_Space_Agency_LogoDUBAI, UAE (UAE Space Agency PR) — The UAE has signed a memorandum of understanding with the People’s Republic of China concerning defining a framework for collaboration in studies and development in space science, as well as the peaceful exploration of outer space. The signing came during the visit of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, to China. The visit aimed at exploring collaboration opportunities in various sectors, including energy, space, financial services, commerce, transportation and education.

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U.S. Report Wearily Eyes Rise of Chinese Space Program

Long March launch
Long March launch

A section of the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission’s 2015 Report to Congress casts a weary eye on the rise of the Chinese space program.

“China’s rise as a major space power challenges decades of U.S. dominance in space—an arena in which the United States has substantial military, civilian, and commercial interests,” the report states.

Below are some key excerpts of the report’s section about China’s space program, including an overview, a description the program’s structure, conclusions and recommendations. You can read the full report here. The section on the space program begins on p. 272.

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China Looks for Help Building Space Station; NASA is Outsider Looking In

The crew of Shenzhou-10 after 15 days in space. (Credit: CNSA)
The crew of Shenzhou-10 after 15 days in space. (Credit: CNSA)

China is looking for partners on its space station, whose core module is set to launch in 2018:

China is soliciting international participation in its future manned space station in the form of foreign modules that would attach to the three-module core system, visits by foreign crew-transport vehicles for short stays and the involvement of non-Chinese researchers in placing experiments on the complex, the chief designer of China’s manned space program said Oct. 12….

The Chinese orbital station, consisting of a core module and two experiment-carrying modules, can be expanded to a total of six modules if international partners want to invest in their own components, said Zhou Jianping, chief designer of the China Manned Space Program at the China Manned Space Agency.

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U.S. & China Hold Talks on Civil Space Cooperation

china_flagWASHINGTON, DC (U.S. State Department PR) — Pursuant to their shared goal of advancing civil space cooperation as agreed upon in the Strategic Track of the U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue in June 2015, the Government of the United States of America and the Government of China convened their inaugural Civil Space Dialogue on September 28, 2015, in Beijing, China.

The meeting was co-chaired by the Department of State for the United States and by the China National Space Administration for China. The convening of this first Civil Space Dialogue launches a new initiative to enhance cooperation between the two countries and provide better transparency on a variety of space related issues.

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China Debuts New Long March 6 Booster

CNSA_logoChina successfully launched its new Long March 6 rocket from the Taiyuan Satellite Launch Center on Sunday, with the booster placing 20 small satellites into orbit.

Long March 6 is a three-stage small satellite launcher capable of placing up to 1,080 kg (2,381 lb) into a sun-synchronous orbit of 700 km (435 miles). It is 29.2 meters (96 feet) tall.

The first stage is powered by a single YF-100 engine that burns kerosene RP-1 and liquid oxygen (LOX). The same motor is being used in the first stage of the larger Long March 5 booster, which will debut next year.

Long March 6’s second stage uses a single YF-115 engine powered by kerosene RP-1 and kerosene. Its third stage has four YF-85 motor powered by hydrogen peroxide and kerosene.

ESA, China Open Moon & Mars Exploration to Private Sector

moon_rise_half
ESA and the Chinese space agency have made separate announcements opening their deep space exploration programs to private sector participation.

ESA issued a Call for Ideas for exploring the moon and Mars on its website.

Private-sector partners are welcome to join ESA in its space exploration strategy. Join us to explore beyond Earth’s horizon by sharing knowledge, capabilities, risks and benefits.

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