Chinese spacecraft returns to Earth with moon samples – spaceflight now

Chinese spacecraft returns to Earth with moon samples - spaceflight now
The rest of the Chang 5 mission moves to Earth, the color green, and the image of the mission’s previous path around the moon, red. Credit: CNSA

A Chinese spacecraft emptying rocks from the moon’s surface will return to Earth on Wednesday and has been providing scientists with new lunar samples for the first time since the 1970s.

The return of the Chang5 mission is part of the domestic part of a 23-day mission that successfully launched China’s most powerful rocket on November 23, landed on the moon on December 1, collected samples, and re-landed on December 3. Complete the first automatic docking between two robotic spacecraft around another planet.

The Chang 5 ascendant attached the mission’s return spacecraft to the December 5, then converted the lunar rock capsule into a return craft before jetting, and deliberately crashed on December 7.

With the completion of those steps, samples of the moon are yet to be brought back to Earth.

The Chang 5 return spacecraft flew thrusters to increase its orbit around the moon on Friday, then conducted the final departure exercise for Earth at 8:51 pm on Saturday (0151 GMT Sunday), according to China’s National Space Administration. . The 22-minute exercise with four small thrusters provided the necessary effects for a good 5 return craft to break Chang’s gravity.

The probe completed a revised course on Monday and continued to land on Tuesday, aiming to land in China’s Inner Mongolia region on Wednesday.

Chinese officials have not disclosed the exact time of landing, but issued a public notice instructing pilots to clear the mission’s recovery zone from 12:32 p.m. to 1:07 p.m. EST (1732-1807 GMT) – night. Remote landing area in the middle of

The return of Chang 5 will leave the lunar rock capsule before the spacecraft enters the atmosphere.

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The re-entry capsule will bounce off the atmosphere in a “skip re-entry” to slow down the craft before landing, reducing the initial entry speed to 25,000 mph, or 40,000 km / h, much lower than the re-entry. Rapid Earthquake Chinese officials say before deploying parachutes to land the plane, Chinese officials said the landing capsule would again help reduce the heat received during landing.

Chang 5 Return Spacecraft Artist’s Concept. Credit: CNSA

Chinese state media reported on Tuesday that Chinese recovery crews in Inner Mongolia were preparing for the arrival of lunar samples.

The Chang5 sample return mission, if successful, will mark the first round-trip flight to the moon in 44 years. This is the first lunar material to be returned to Earth since 1976, when the Soviet Union’s robotic Luna 24 mission retrieved samples of about 170 grams or 6 ounces from the lunar surface.

Nine missions have returned lunar samples to Earth, including six Apollo missions with NASA astronauts and three robotic Luna spacecraft launched by the Soviet Union. NASA’s Apollo missions have recovered 842 pounds (382 kilograms) of rock from the moon.

Chinese scientists will take lunar material to a climate-controlled facility for lunar analysis. Researchers hope to learn about the history and evolution of the moon.

The goal of the Chang 5 mission was to collect more than 4 pounds or 2 kilograms of rock to return to Earth. Chinese officials have not released an estimate of the amount of spacecraft collected on the moon.

The Changai Moon program is dedicated to the Moon Goddess in Chinese folklore.

The sample return mission follows the first in China’s lunar research programs. Most recently, the Chang4 mission made its first successful soft landing on the far side of the moon in January 2019. Chang 4 uses a dedicated data relay satellite flying deep into the ground to jump between commands and scientific data between ground teams and scientific data. Spacecraft on the surface of the moon.

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China’s next lunar mission is similar to Changi 6, Changi 5. It may attempt a sample return mission to get the lunar rocks closer to the south pole of the moon by 2023.

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