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Thread: China's moon exploration ambitions

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    China's moon exploration ambitions

    China has so far sent 3 probes to the moon. The last one a lander and a rover. That was Chang'e 3. As the rover (Yutu ) had problems half way through it's mission many including me expected China to launch its backup Chang'e 4 to complete it.

    That is not going to be the case according to the latest information coming out of China. Instead they will be cannibalising it to support Chang'e 5 and Chang'e 6 missions.

    Chang'e 5 is on schedule for a 2017 launch

    http://www.chinatopix.com/articles/5...ar-mission.htm

    The Chang'e 4 backup probe for Chang'e 3 will be used for Change'e 5 and Chang'e 6 lunar missions. Despite China's progress in space exploration, Wu noted China lagged behind the United States and Russia in the spacerace.
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    Quote Originally Posted by selvaarchi View Post
    The Chang'e 4 backup probe for Chang'e 3 will be used for Change'e 5 and Chang'e 6 lunar missions.
    It would be interesting to know what parts will be used.
    With Chang'e 4 being a rover, and Chang'e 5 being a lander and sample return, I can't think of much that they share in common.
    Perhaps some of the translunar equipment, communications and maybe landing systems.


    Quote Originally Posted by selvaarchi View Post
    Despite China's progress in space exploration, Wu noted China lagged behind the United States and Russia in the spacerace.
    What race? Race implies completing a stated task in a shorter amount of time or before a specified time. What is the task of the race and when will it be know that it ends?

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    Quote Originally Posted by NEOWatcher View Post
    It would be interesting to know what parts will be used.
    With Chang'e 4 being a rover, and Chang'e 5 being a lander and sample return, I can't think of much that they share in common.
    Perhaps some of the translunar equipment, communications and maybe landing systems.



    What race? Race implies completing a stated task in a shorter amount of time or before a specified time. What is the task of the race and when will it be know that it ends?
    You must have misinterpreted it. Chang'e 5 will have all the capabilities of Chang'e 4 plus the capability to return with the samples. Its rover will also have the capability to dig 2 meters, collect samples.

    As for the space race, he must be interpreting the same as I was with the space race thread. My interpretation is China still has a long way to go before it catches up with the USA or Russia.
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    Quote Originally Posted by selvaarchi View Post
    You must have misinterpreted it. Chang'e 5 will have all the capabilities of Chang'e 4 plus the capability to return with the samples. Its rover will also have the capability to dig 2 meters, collect samples.
    I have never heard "rover" as it applies to Chang'5.
    I have never heard what the capabilities of Chang'4.
    I do have several references to what Chang'5 carries. None of it is a rover.
    http://aviationweek.com/space/china-...return-mission
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chang%27e_5
    From the images I've seen (examples here, here and here). the return module is using the space in the lander that Yutu used.

    If you know of anywhere that specifically says that Chang'e 5 has a rover, I'd like to see it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by NEOWatcher View Post
    I have never heard "rover" as it applies to Chang'5.
    I have never heard what the capabilities of Chang'4.
    I do have several references to what Chang'5 carries. None of it is a rover.
    http://aviationweek.com/space/china-...return-mission
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chang%27e_5
    From the images I've seen (examples here, here and here). the return module is using the space in the lander that Yutu used.

    If you know of anywhere that specifically says that Chang'e 5 has a rover, I'd like to see it.
    Chang'e 4 was a backup to Chang'e 3. The answers to your question are in the first few sentences of the article I started the thread with. It says 2017 Chang'e 5 rover mission. It then goes on to explain that they first have to deal with mechanical problems found in China's previous Chang'e 3 lunar mission last year.



    " China hopes to become the second nation to send humans to the moon, but first must settle for lunar probes, including a 2017 Chang'e 5 rover mission aimed at returning lunar samples to Earth.

    Development of China's Chang'e 5 lander and Yutu, or "Jade Rabbit" rover mission to the moon continues on course, according to Chinese space officials.

    Officials, however, cautioned they first have to deal with mechanical problems found in China's previous Chang'e 3 lunar mission last year. They are confident of success."
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    I suspect that it may be a mistake by the reporter, but I could be wrong. That's why I am trying to find more information.

    I have seen several links relating the Chang'e missions as a 3 phased program where phase 2 is specifically for soft landing an rovers.
    The omission of the word "rover", coupled with the payload requirements of the same lander make me doubt they will add a rover to it.

    I found this article from a week ago (before the announcement of cannabalizing Chang'4) that said: "It is still unclear if China will make a Yutu-2"

    You are going by phrasing of one reporter's words. I am going by the ommision of any detail. I guess we will have to wait and see.

    Even without a rover, it will be a grand accomplishment.

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    Quote Originally Posted by NEOWatcher View Post
    I suspect that it may be a mistake by the reporter, but I could be wrong. That's why I am trying to find more information.

    I have seen several links relating the Chang'e missions as a 3 phased program where phase 2 is specifically for soft landing an rovers.
    The omission of the word "rover", coupled with the payload requirements of the same lander make me doubt they will add a rover to it.

    I found this article from a week ago (before the announcement of cannabalizing Chang'4) that said: "It is still unclear if China will make a Yutu-2"

    You are going by phrasing of one reporter's words. I am going by the ommision of any detail. I guess we will have to wait and see.

    Even without a rover, it will be a grand accomplishment.
    I am going on what I would do if I was exploring a foreign world. I certainly would not want samples of just the area surrounding where I landed. What if it was solid rock, I will not be able to dig. I will certainly send a rover to explore the surrounding areas and try and bring back the most interesting samples I could find.

    That will be the reason for their sequence - Phase 1 - try and get to the moon (Chang'e 1 & 2) Phase 2 - land a rover and explore the surrounding (Chang'e 3). This accomplished all its objectives, although the rover got crippled on the 2nd lunar day. So instead of another rover mission (Chang'e 4) why not send a probe with a sample return capsule to circle the moon and return to Earth and recover the capsule. Phase 3 - the sample return

    Sounds reasonable .

    The article you found a week ago is the same as the one I reported in the thread "How-long-until-we-colonize-the-moon" #255 from spaceDaily.
    Last edited by selvaarchi; 2014-Aug-01 at 05:18 PM. Reason: additional info

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    Some points from this article
    http://www.thespacereview.com/article/2544/1

    About the Yutu: "Independent observers noted that the lander was far larger than necessary to carry the smallish Yutu."

    In terms of sample return:
    "Rather than launching the samples straight from the Moon back to Earth, the plan is to put a large craft into lunar orbit and send the lander down. The samples would then be launched back into lunar orbit on an ascent spacecraft that would rendezvous with the mother craft. The samples would be transferred to the Earth reentry vehicle, which would be boosted out of lunar orbit and back to Earth. This will require a new, more powerful rocket currently under development...In contrast, the Chinese reentry vehicle is rather large. A human could actually climb inside it, although it is obviously not intended for that purpose."

    With CZ-9, and a little more time...

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    More speculation on China's moon plans. This time by Dr Morris Jones (he has authored several articles on China's space ambitions)

    http://www.spacedaily.com/reports/Ch...asked_999.html

    Later this year, China will send a spacecraft out to the Moon, then return it to Earth. The uncrewed vehicle will fly around the far side of the Moon and use the Moon's gravity to slingshot it back to Earth. As it approaches the home planet, the spacecraft will release a capsule that will parachute to a soft landing.

    Officially, the mission is designed to test a re-entry capsule to be used in a future robotic lunar-sample return mission. In this analyst's opinion, the mission is also designed to prepare for a future Chinese astronaut launch to the Moon. Filling this information vacuum, I have now prepared a rough diagram of the expected layout of China's first circumlunar spacecraft.

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    pretty much a repeat of the old (rump Soyuz) ZONDs

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    No more speculation. China has announced that they will send a spacecraft out to the Moon, then return it to Earth. The uncrewed vehicle will fly around the far side of the Moon and use the Moon's gravity to slingshot it back to Earth. As it approaches the home planet, the spacecraft will release a capsule that will parachute to a soft landing.

    http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/ch..._133546027.htm

    China is preparing for the launch of an experimental recoverable moon orbiter, said the State Administration of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defence on Sunday.

    The orbiter arrived in Xichang via air in southwest China's Sichuan Province on Sunday and then transported to the Xichang Satellite Launch Center, according to a statement from the administration.

    The launch will take place before the end of this year, it said.

    The plan is for the orbiter to be launched into lunar orbit and return to Earth at an escape velocity of 11.2 km per second.

    The orbiter is one of the test models for China's new lunar probe Chang'e-5, which will be tasked with landing on the moon, collecting samples and returning to Earth.

    The launch is aimed at testing the technologies that are vital for the success of Chang'e-5, the statement said.
    photo of it being transported

    https://www.facebook.com/ChinaSpace/...type=1&theater
    Last edited by selvaarchi; 2014-Aug-11 at 12:53 AM. Reason: adding facebook picture

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    More speculation by Dr Morris Jones on China's plans after China announced on Sunday that it is preparing for the launch of an experimental recoverable moon orbiter.

    http://www.spacedaily.com/reports/Mo...ssion_999.html

    China has a long and proud tradition of flying seeds and other lifeforms in orbit, but it has never launched a biological experiment into deep space. This will be a big breakthrough for China's space biomedical program. The lunar environment will expose the samples to different levels of radiation than are found in near-Earth space.

    How long will the spacecraft stay in lunar orbit? It could literally be weeks. The spacecraft must simulate the time it would take for another robotic spacecraft to land on the Moon, collect samples, place those samples in a small launch vehicle and fly them to a rendezvous in lunar orbit.

    We don't know how long that will take, but it should at least be a matter of days. Then there's the question of windows for the return to Earth and a touchdown at China's landing site in Inner Mongolia. The on-board samples would also gain from a prolonged exposure to deep space. So China will probably be in no hurry to bring its spacecraft home.

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    Quote Originally Posted by selvaarchi View Post
    No more speculation.
    What speculation has been solved?
    We were talking about Chang'e 5. This article is not about Chang'e 5, but a test mission leading up to it that doesn't include any landing hardware.

    Quote Originally Posted by selvaarchi View Post
    More speculation
    See?

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    Quote Originally Posted by NEOWatcher View Post
    What speculation has been solved?
    We were talking about Chang'e 5. This article is not about Chang'e 5, but a test mission leading up to it that doesn't include any landing hardware.


    See?
    This test mission was not in the original plan for the Chinese moon project. It was then speculated it might happen. It was only on Sunday that China confirmed it will happen. Do not remember reading if they have given this mission a name.
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    Quote Originally Posted by selvaarchi View Post
    This test mission was not in the original plan for the Chinese moon project.
    We don't know that.

    Where was it had speculated if it would or would not happen?

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    Quote Originally Posted by NEOWatcher View Post
    We don't know that.

    Where was it had speculated if it would or would not happen?
    Their missions are very structured. 1 and 2 were to orbit the moon. 3 and 4 the lander and rover. 5 and 6 the sample return.

    As 3 met their technical objectives, they have stated that 4 will do something additional but have not started what. It is not this mission that has just been announced.
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    Quote Originally Posted by selvaarchi View Post
    As 3 met their technical objectives, they have stated that 4 will do something additional but have not started what. It is not this mission that has just been announced.
    Maybe it wasn't in the orginal plans, but the official word in your OP link said that 4 will not be used and instead utilized for 5.
    This is not a clarification of speculation, but an actual contradiction to what they announced.

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    Quote Originally Posted by NEOWatcher View Post
    Maybe it wasn't in the orginal plans, but the official word in your OP link said that 4 will not be used and instead utilized for 5.
    This is not a clarification of speculation, but an actual contradiction to what they announced.
    It is a one liner in the press release by China that says 4 will be adapted to support 5.

    http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/ch..._133546027.htm
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    Quote Originally Posted by selvaarchi View Post
    It is a one liner in the press release by China that says 4 will be adapted to support 5.
    And the OP article also said "used for".
    So if 4 is being used or adapted or in some way associated with 5, then the test orbiter is either something different, or they have changed their mind about using 4 for 5. None of that was speculated.

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    Quote Originally Posted by NEOWatcher View Post
    And the OP article also said "used for".
    So if 4 is being used or adapted or in some way associated with 5, then the test orbiter is either something different, or they have changed their mind about using 4 for 5. None of that was speculated.
    The way I read it, the orbiter is something new and I have not seen a name associated with the mission yet. Not sure how they plan to modify 4 to support 5. There was a report they might use components of 4 in 5.
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    Quote Originally Posted by selvaarchi View Post
    The way I read it, the orbiter is something new and I have not seen a name associated with the mission yet. Not sure how they plan to modify 4 to support 5. There was a report they might use components of 4 in 5.
    I don't think it's new. I think it was just an unannounced test of the orbiter for 5. Since they already landed a lot of the components in 3 (thus being able to use the 4 components in 5), they need to work out the orbiter which is a new piece of hardware in the series of missions.

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    Dr Morris Jones speculation that the next probe by China will not sling shot around the moon and return to earth has been confirmed by the latest news from China. No news on his speculation the probe will be carrying some biological experiments.

    http://english.cntv.cn/2014/08/12/VI...37777505.shtml

    With the launch scheduled for later this year, the probe will travel all the way to the moon and enter its orbit. Tests will then be carried out to see if the probe can escape the moon’s orbit, and enter a flight path back to earth.

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    A report in the Chinese press says Chang'e-5 probe will launch only in 2020. This is 3 years later then previous reports. Not sure if this was a typo or because of the typhoon that hit the launch site or problems with the development of the Long March 5.

    http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/ch..._133498925.htm

    The mission will be conducted by the Chang'e-5 probe around 2020, he said, adding that Chang'e-5 will be transported by the nation's first heavy-lift rocket, the Long March-5, in the new launch center at Wenchang on the island province of Hainan.

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    Quote Originally Posted by selvaarchi View Post
    Dr Morris Jones speculation that the next probe by China will not sling shot around the moon and return to earth has been confirmed by the latest news from China.
    Your link in post 11 said that from the same people when they said it will enter lunar orbit.

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    Quote Originally Posted by selvaarchi View Post
    A report in the Chinese press says Chang'e-5 probe will launch only in 2020.
    That's too bad...

    Quote Originally Posted by selvaarchi View Post
    This is 3 years later then previous reports. Not sure if this was a typo or because of the typhoon that hit the launch site or problems with the development of the Long March 5.
    Sounds like neither. Your OP link was an optimistic view of the date. There were two statements in there that left that in doubt.
    Officials, however, cautioned they first have to deal with mechanical problems found in China's previous Chang'e 3 lunar mission last year.
    "The program's third phase will be more difficult because many breakthroughs must be made in key technologies...

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    Quote Originally Posted by NEOWatcher View Post
    Your link in post 11 said that from the same people when they said it will enter lunar orbit.
    At that point most reports took it to mean to go around the moon and return to earth. Dr Morris Jones article was the 1st one I came across that stated it will stay in lunar orbit sometime but rereading post 11 it could also mean just that.

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    Quote Originally Posted by NEOWatcher View Post
    That's too bad...


    Sounds like neither. Your OP link was an optimistic view of the date. There were two statements in there that left that in doubt.
    If that was the case, I would have expected then to rectify the problem with Yutu and send the backup probe Chang'e 4. That is not the case.

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    Quote Originally Posted by selvaarchi View Post
    If that was the case, I would have expected then to rectify the problem with Yutu and send the backup probe Chang'e 4. That is not the case.
    Only if they need to test it there. It could be that the problems can be rectified and tested here on Earth.

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    China is building up their infrastructure to support their moon quest.

    https://www.facebook.com/ChinaSpace/...type=1&theater

    A new 25m radio telescope is under construction in Xinjiang. It will be used to support the third phase of lunar exploration.

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    This article seems to imply Chang'e 4 has been modified from a lander to orbiting the moon and returning to earth. Find that not quiet right but only time will tell.

    http://www.space-travel.com/reports/..._Soil_999.html

    Within the framework of the program, a younger generation test vehicle, Chang'e 4, is scheduled to take off later this year to pave the way for the third phase sample-return mission. The lunar test orbiter has already arrived at the Xichang launch site in the southwestern province of Sichuan in China.

    Its initial purpose was to back-up the Chang'e 3, however, because of the third mission's success, the configuration of the orbiter changed to testing new equipment including its abilities in flight sequence control, allowing scientists to perfect orbit design of lunar vehicles, and practicing to keep the unmanned spacecraft orbitally stable.

    "Scientists believe we need to launch the spacecraft to prove that our current technical plan can actually bring Chang'e 5 home safely," Chief Designer of the Chang'e 5, Hu Hao was cited as saying by Space Industry News.

    Upon returning to Earth with lunar rock and soil samples, the Chang'e 5 will be falling through the planet's atmosphere at an escape velocity of 11.2 kilometers per second. China's spacecraft have never before re-entered the atmosphere at such high speeds and, according to Hu, no simulation test is able to recreate such an event. "The re-entry speed means the return capsule could overheat or prove difficult to track and control," Hu said.

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