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Thread: China's moon exploration ambitions

  1. #91
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    Quote Originally Posted by NEOWatcher View Post
    Both articles mentioned it, but neither explained it.
    I looked it up, and only found references to an athlete. Do you have any clue about the connection?
    This was one interpretation that I got -

    Xiao means small
    fei means something that flies

  2. #92
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    While all eyes were on the return capsule to earth, China had other plans for Chang'e 5 Service Module. See 1st link below. To top that information was released that Chang'e 4 might still fly - see 2nd link below.

    http://www.spaceflight101.com/change...n-updates.html

    Following Friday's successful re-entry and landing of the Chang'e 5 Return Vehicle that was part of the Chang'e 5 Test Mission, Chinese officials have confirmed that the craft's Service Module was successful in positioning itself for an unprecedented secondary mission. The Service Module is planned to operate until at least May 2015 with a twofold mission at the Earth-Moon Lagrange Point 2 and in lunar orbit.

    http://www.go-taikonauts.com/en/chin...-not-chang-e-4

    The Chang'e 4 spacecraft is still sitting in a clean room and is waiting for a decision for its destination. Possible options are a repetition of the Chang'e 3 mission but it may also turn out that China will surprise the world again, like it happened occasionally before ...

  3. #93
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    Quote Originally Posted by selvaarchi View Post
    While all eyes were on the return capsule to earth, China had other plans for Chang'e 5 Service Module. See 1st link below.
    So; in summary:
    The service module somewhat tailed the return module and returned to the moon to put it in an L2 orbit.
    The 3rd stage is in a very high orbit testing radio signals.
    The service module is testing various maneuvers because it still has about 80% of it's fuel remaining.

    Of course, the secrecy continues.
    Nobody knows if there are any experiments on the SM.
    Nobody knows how much fuel mass will have to be replaced by other hardware (like the lander and such)

    Basically, they packed a lot of hardware and navigation testing in this mission.


    Quote Originally Posted by selvaarchi View Post
    To top that information was released that Chang'e 4 might still fly - see 2nd link below.
    That article says nothing we haven't discussed before. We already know it hasn't been used in whole or in part yet. We still don't know what they are going to do with it.

  4. #94
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    I thought the service module only released the return module after the 1st dip into earth's atmosphere? Other than that I agree with your summary.

  5. #95
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    Quote Originally Posted by selvaarchi View Post
    I thought the service module only released the return module after the 1st dip into earth's atmosphere? Other than that I agree with your summary.
    I never stated how much, but on verification, It was later than I thought. Still before re-entry though. If it was first skip, then it would have had a lot of shielding. (The first skip would need shed about 3.5km/s to bring it into a nearly circular orbit. I don't know what the apogee was after the skip.)

    Plus; slowing it down would require a second orbit for it to do it's return trajectory burn at perigee.

    For that, the Service Module delivered the Return Vehicle on its final re-entry trajectory, releasing it at a distance of 5,000 Kilometers, just over 20 minutes prior to re-entry.

  6. #96
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    You are right, I miss read that.

    Hopefully the go-taikonauts team will give us some insight at the end of the month.

  7. #97
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    Quote Originally Posted by selvaarchi View Post
    Hopefully the go-taikonauts team will give us some insight at the end of the month.
    I hope they have more than insight. I'd like to see actual information.

  8. #98
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    Quote Originally Posted by NEOWatcher View Post
    So; in summary:
    The service module somewhat tailed the return module and returned to the moon to put it in an L2 orbit.
    The 3rd stage is in a very high orbit testing radio signals.
    The service module is testing various maneuvers because it still has about 80% of it's fuel remaining.

    Of course, the secrecy continues.
    Nobody knows if there are any experiments on the SM.
    Nobody knows how much fuel mass will have to be replaced by other hardware (like the lander and such)

    Basically, they packed a lot of hardware and navigation testing in this mission.



    That article says nothing we haven't discussed before. We already know it hasn't been used in whole or in part yet. We still don't know what they are going to do with it.
    If the service module still has 80% of its fuel left after returning to earth orbit then in theory it could do another 4 round trips to the moon. Useful to have that capability if we need to ferry several loads to moon orbit. Could that be the approach they might take for the Chang'e 5 mission and later for their manned missions?

  9. #99
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    Emily Lakdawalla speculating why China might want to send the service module to L2 point.

    http://www.planetary.org/blogs/emily...le-flying.html

    We do not yet know where they plan to send the Chang'e 4 or Chang'e 5 landers. (We don't even know if the spacecraft known as Chang'e 4 will even launch at all.) But if you'll allow me to indulge in a little bit of speculation, I can think of one excellent reason to have a lunar orbiter in place when you are planning future landed missions. With an orbiter, you could conceivably land something in a place you cannot see from Earth -- namely, the lunar farside. I can point you (thanks to a tip posted here) to a Chinese discussion forum where other people are speculating about the same thing -- if not for Chang'e 4 or 5, possibly even for Chang'e 6, the presumed backup to Chang'e 5. But that's pretty far in the future, and, admittedly, a long chain of speculation.

    Why would a landing on, or sample return from, the farside be so cool? A large fraction of the farside is swallowed up in the South Pole-Aitken Basin, one of the biggest impact basins in the solar system. To the extent that a group of scientists ever agrees on anything, a sizeable fraction of lunar scientists would love to land in the South Pole-Aitken Basin. As one of the biggest holes in the solar system, it likely excavated lunar mantle; so there'd be the chance to see what rocks from deep inside a terrestrial planet look like (and, more importantly, what they are made of). It's also very, very far from the Imbrium impact basin, whose ejecta reached pretty much the entire nearside, possibly affecting all the Apollo samples.

  10. #100
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    Quote Originally Posted by selvaarchi View Post
    If the service module still has 80% of its fuel left after returning to earth orbit then in theory it could do another 4 round trips to the moon. Useful to have that capability if we need to ferry several loads to moon orbit. Could that be the approach they might take for the Chang'e 5 mission and later for their manned missions?
    No; that would only be possible without any loads. Don't forget, this test run did not have a lander or rover as a payload.

    We just had an orbiter and return module on this mission. These are not relatively mass intensive components.
    Now; for 5, we have to add the lander, rover and ascent module. Fuel to land all of those including the fuel for the ascent.
    That's going to pretty much eliminate that 80% reserve.

  11. #101
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    Quote Originally Posted by NEOWatcher View Post
    No; that would only be possible without any loads. Don't forget, this test run did not have a lander or rover as a payload.

    We just had an orbiter and return module on this mission. These are not relatively mass intensive components.
    Now; for 5, we have to add the lander, rover and ascent module. Fuel to land all of those including the fuel for the ascent.
    That's going to pretty much eliminate that 80% reserve.
    I was thinking more in terms of it not landing but just transporting the items from LEO to moon orbit and then picking up the ascent module and bringing it back to earth.

  12. #102
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    Quote Originally Posted by selvaarchi View Post
    I was thinking more in terms of it not landing but just transporting the items from LEO to moon orbit and then picking up the ascent module and bringing it back to earth.
    It's easier just to send stuff rather than rendezvous. The advantage for something with that much fuel reserve would be better suited for traveling different orbits or destinations with instruments that would be used at each site.

  13. #103
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    Picture of the Chang'e 5 lander and another of the flight path on China space Facebook

    https://www.facebook.com/ChinaSpace

  14. #104
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    A concept image of Chang'e 5 taking off from the moon.

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

  15. #105
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    A concept image of Chang'e 5 taking off from the moon.

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

  16. #106
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    The service module belonging to China's unmanned lunar orbiter has reached the Earth-Moon second Lagrange Point (L2), the State Administration of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defense said Saturday.

    They do talk off all experiments going well but no information on what experiments.

    http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/ch..._133822047.htm

    As of Friday, the service module had been flying for 28 days, and was 421,000 kilometers away from Earth and 63,000 km from the moon. All experiments are going well.

  17. #107
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    After all our complaints of how the Chinese have been keeping a tight lid on their Cheng'e 3 mission, we will have information coming out of our years. In fact a special issue of "Research in Astronomy and Astrophysics" has been dedicated to the early results from China’s Chang’e 3 lander mission to the Moon.

    http://www.leonarddavid.com/chinas-f...ults-reported/

    In the journal, an array of scientists from the Laboratory of Lunar and Deep Space Exploration, National Astronomical Observatories, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, present initial findings from the lander and its lunar rover, Yutu.

    According to the papers, an analysis of the effect of the CE-3 engine plume on the lunar surface was done by comparing images before and after the touchdown using data from the craft’s landing camera.

    For example, during the landing process of CE-3, lots of lunar dust was blown away by the engine plume. Furthermore, the scope of influence is about 60 meters from east to west and 135 meters from south to north. “Thus, this leads to a redistribution of lunar dust and changes in space weathering on the lunar surface,” one of the research papers notes.

    The landing site of CE-3 was found to be a high titanium basalt stratum, and its geological age is young Eratoshenian – the longest period of the lunar timescale, thought to range from about 3.2 to 1.1 billion years old.
    For a look at the full range of papers

    http://www.raa-journal.org/raa/index.../issue/view/81

  18. #108
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    Emily Lakdawalla's speculation could have hit the bull's eye. My speculation on this is from the latest flight path for the service module and their caption that goes with it. Notice how the service keeps circling the Earth-Moon Lagrange point L2. In other words Cheng'e 5 will be landing on the part of the moon we cannot see from earth.


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

    Moon return test mission flight path. The service module will now observe the lunar sampling area for Chang'e 5

  19. #109
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    Quote Originally Posted by selvaarchi View Post
    Emily Lakdawalla's speculation could have hit the bull's eye. My speculation on this is from the latest flight path for the service module and their caption that goes with it. Notice how the service keeps circling the Earth-Moon Lagrange point L2. In other words Cheng'e 5 will be landing on the part of the moon we cannot see from earth.
    Your speculation was using it as a tug. Emily is talking about using it as a far side observation post.

  20. #110
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    Quote Originally Posted by NEOWatcher View Post
    Your speculation was using it as a tug. Emily is talking about using it as a far side observation post.
    I am now agreeing with her initial speculation.

  21. #111
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    Some news on the service module and some future plans, including leaving L2 in January 2015.

    I must say, I am impressed with the sort of detail, the Chinese are going about their moon exploration. Very surprised at the amount of extra tasks they have given the service module. If it is going to go that close to the moon in January, it will be to take close up pictures of the possible landing sites. I wonder how they are going to use the GPS system?

    http://www.ecns.cn/2014/12-03/145158.shtml

    "To take maximum advantage of the capacity of the service module to test relevant technologies for Chang'e 5, we are conducting a series of experiments on the service module, including circling the Lagrangian Point L2 and carrying equipment for experiments in orbit," said Pei Zhaoyu, deputy director of the China National Space Administration.

    The module carries equipment including GPS, a high-resolution camera and a star sensor.

    Pei said the test could validate technologies for Chang'e 5.

    The camera, which boasts double normal resolution, can observe areas where Chang'e 5 will take samples. "These possible results can strengthen our confidence for Chang'e 5's landing," Pei said.

    The service module is scheduled to leave L2 at the beginning of January and head to the moon. It will prepare for braking at peri-lune - the point at which an orbiting object is nearest the moon - and enter the moon's orbit in mid-January.
    Last edited by selvaarchi; 2014-Dec-06 at 02:47 AM.

  22. #112
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    Yesterday 14/12/2014 marked the 1st anniversary of the landing of Chang'e 3 with Yutu on the moon. Right now the status of the crafts are not known.

    http://www.spaceflight101.com/change...n-updates.html

    China is celebrating the one-year anniversary of the landing of the Chang'e 3 lander and rover on the Moon, however, the fate of the two craft is uncertain as no radio communications from either was detected in recent months. Making its descent to the lunar surface on December 14, 2013, Chang'e 3 became the first craft to make a soft landing on the Moon since the Soviet Luna 24 in 1976.

    The landing of Chang'e 3 was no easy feat - the craft used one continuous 12-minute engine burn to make its way from a low orbit around the Moon to a landing site located in the Sea of Rains, employing Autonomous Hazard Avoidance in a fully automated landing sequence that saw the lander hovering at a point four meters above the surface before dropping the final meters in free fall. Coming to rest on its four landing legs, Chang'e 3 concluded its "12 Minutes of Terror" and also set another mark in China's lunar program.

  23. #113
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    Dr.Paul D. Spudis take on Chinese Luna ambitions (more like a wake up call to the US).

    http://www.airspacemag.com/daily-pla...oon-180953267/

    It appears that while America continues to pursue the chimera of a human Mars mission at some future (but always unspecified) date, China is moving ahead with cislunar space dominance. They have systematically and carefully planned a logical pathway to the creation of a permanent space-faring capability. They have not yet achieved it, but looking at their progress to date, there is little doubt that they will. As virtually all of our space “applications” (i.e., communications, weather, remote sensing, GPS) assets are positioned in the various locales of cislunar space, we should be cognizant of evolving Chinese capabilities and intentions. Are we allowing ourselves to be outmaneuvered in space? Despite the happy talk of many in the space community, it remains a dangerous world.

  24. #114
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    Quote Originally Posted by selvaarchi View Post
    (more like a wake up call to the US).
    Nothing that anyone doesn't know, and I'm sure the government is already making the same speculations.

    The issue will be if they can support both a manned space station and a manned lunar lander. They probably can but according to the first sentence you quoted, they haven't had any statements to the fact that they will be doing a human landing on the moon either. So far, everything has been based on speculation, rumor, and inferred technology.

    Besides, the US has much more ambitious plans. Why should they spread their resources just to match a moon landing? We've been there, done that. A moon landing might help in many ways, but to say the Chinese will get there is not a reason. There is no "outmaneuvering".

    That whole diatribe of "taking hostile action in space" means nothing. We already know that. Further than Earth orbit, it means practically nothing. How would they define BEO assets themselves? How would they use them in a military sense? Sure, there are possibilities of token take downs of other satellites, but those have serious political consequences here on Earth. I doubt anyone would use such expensive resources to take potshots at anyone in outer space (at least until there is a robust infrastructure)

    This is just another article with some alarmist using the disparity of goals to use one goal as an argument.

    The biggest issue with space technology is the terrestrial applications of it. I think there's no doubt that they already have what they need. If anyone needs to concentrate on anything, that would be the focus. Not the moon.

    They have a robust space program. There's no need to taint it with alarmist talk.

  25. #115
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    Quote Originally Posted by NEOWatcher View Post
    Nothing that anyone doesn't know, and I'm sure the government is already making the same speculations.

    The issue will be if they can support both a manned space station and a manned lunar lander. They probably can but according to the first sentence you quoted, they haven't had any statements to the fact that they will be doing a human landing on the moon either. So far, everything has been based on speculation, rumor, and inferred technology.

    Besides, the US has much more ambitious plans. Why should they spread their resources just to match a moon landing? We've been there, done that. A moon landing might help in many ways, but to say the Chinese will get there is not a reason. There is no "outmaneuvering".

    That whole diatribe of "taking hostile action in space" means nothing. We already know that. Further than Earth orbit, it means practically nothing. How would they define BEO assets themselves? How would they use them in a military sense? Sure, there are possibilities of token take downs of other satellites, but those have serious political consequences here on Earth. I doubt anyone would use such expensive resources to take potshots at anyone in outer space (at least until there is a robust infrastructure)

    This is just another article with some alarmist using the disparity of goals to use one goal as an argument.

    The biggest issue with space technology is the terrestrial applications of it. I think there's no doubt that they already have what they need. If anyone needs to concentrate on anything, that would be the focus. Not the moon.

    They have a robust space program. There's no need to taint it with alarmist talk.
    Dr.Paul D. Spudis is a known advocate of the US going to the moon (just like we have another speaker who advocates going to Mars). He is just trying to goad the US government by stressing on China's progress.

  26. #116
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    Quote Originally Posted by selvaarchi View Post
    Dr.Paul D. Spudis is a known advocate of the US going to the moon (just like we have another speaker who advocates going to Mars). He is just trying to goad the US government by stressing on China's progress.
    So; he's just pushing his own agenda. I'd rather see benefits of the moon over other projects that are being undertaken... not scare tactics.

    For one; with all the talk about asteroid threats, it seems logical that there is an immediate need to study them. That's what NASA is doing.

  27. #117
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    Some interesting articles


    http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/ch..._133838367.htm

    (Xinhua) -- China hopes to put a rover on Mars around 2020, complete a manned space station around 2022 and test a heavy carrier rocket around 2030, a top space scientist revealed Sunday.

    Lei Fanpei, chairman of the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC), the main contractor for the space program, revealed the details in an interview with Xinhua after the launch of CBERS-4, a satellite jointly developed with Brazil, from the Taiyuan base, by a Long March-4B rocket.

    It was the 200th flight of the Long March variants since April 1970 when a Long March-1 carried China's first satellite, Dongfanghong-1, into space.

    MARS PROBE 2020

    A feasibility study on the country's first Mars mission is completed and the goal is now to send an orbiter and rover to Mars.

    There has been no official announcement about a Mars probe yet, but Lei expects a Long March-5 carrier, still at the development stage, to take the orbiter into a Martian orbit around 2020 from a new launch site on south China's island province of Hainan.

    China's space scientists have had their eyes on the Red Planet as their next destination since the successful soft landing on the moon late last year.

    Last month, an actual-size model of a possible Mars rover was on display at Airshow China 2014, the first glimpse of how the vehicle might turn out.

    China made an unsuccessful attempt to reach Mars in 2011 aboard a Russian rocket, but failed to complete the mission because of an accident during orbital transfer.

    SPACE STATION 2022

    China's manned space station program is progressing steadily. Various modules, vehicles and ground facilities are nearing readiness.

    Development and manufacture of major space products are at key stages, including the second space lab Tiangong-2, the Tianzhou-1 cargo ship, Long March-7 rockets and Shenzhou-11 spacecraft. The core module and two space labs will be tested soon, Lei said.

    A new launch center in Hainan, the fourth after Taiyuan, Jiuquan and Xichang, is almost complete and can already launch some spacecraft.

    The Tiangong-2 space lab will be launched around 2016 along with the Shenzhou-11 spacecraft and Tianzhou-1 cargo ship. Around 2018, a core experimental module for the station will be put in place.

    By around 2022, China's first orbiting space station should be completed. It will consist of three parts -- a core module attached to two labs, each weighing about 20 tonnes.

    Tiangong-1 was launched in September 2011. In June 2012, the Shenzhou-9 executed the first manual space docking with Tiangong-1, another essential step in building a space station.

    HEAVY ROCKET

    A powerful carrier rocket is essential for a manned moon landing.

    "We hope to make breakthroughs within four or five years on design and key technology for the heavy carrier, a solid foundation for developing such a rocket," he said.
    http://uk.businessinsider.com/china-...s-2014-11?r=US
    China is reportedly considering trying to land a probe on asteroid Apophis when it makes a crucial swing past the Earth in 2029.

    Apophis is a controversial topic for astronomers and skywatchers in general.

    When it was originally identified as a threat in December 2004, NASA put the chance of the 325m wide rock hitting the Earth in 2029 at 1 in 62, causing widespread media coverage about the new “Doomsday Asteroid”.

    Within a week, the chance of a 2029 strike was eliminated and focus shifted on its chances of passing through a gravitational “keyhole”, which would pull it into a collision path with the Earth seven years later.

    The worst case scenario for that to happen was a 1 in 5560 chance in 2036.

    That’s now blown out to 7.07 in a billion as more information is gathered on the asteroid, but there’s still plenty of excitement about the 2029 pass which many hope will provide final clarification of the odds of a strike by 2100.

    Read more: http://uk.businessinsider.com/
    http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/techno...020/ar-BBepANf
    Chinese scientists are planning to launch a Mars rover "around 2020", state media reported on Tuesday, as the country pours billions into its space programme and works to catch up with the US and Europe.
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worl...n-mission.html
    China is developing a huge rocket that will be used for its first manned mission to the moon, state media said Monday, underscoring Beijing's increasingly ambitious space programme.

    It will carry a load of 130 tonnes, the newspaper added, equal to what NASA is aiming for with its Space Launch System (SLS), which aims to blast off for the first time in 2018 with an initial test payload of 70 tonnes.
    http://www.spacepolitics.com/2013/10...d-cooperation/
    Conflicting claims about China, NASA, and cooperation
    One obstacle to that cooperation, though, is law that has been in place for over two years prohibiting NASA (along with the Office of Science and Technology Policy) from using any funds for bilateral programs with China or to host Chinese nationals at NASA facilities. That language was added to the full-year continuing resolution that funded NASA for FY 2011. There was similar language in the FY 2012 appropriations bill that funded NASA, preventing the use of funds for cooperation with China and hosting Chinese nationals at NASA facilities, although that bill included a clause allowing exceptions when NASA certifies, and notifies Congress at least 14 days in advance, that there is no risk of technology transfer. That language was included in the continuing resolution for FY 2013, with the addition of a provision that any exception must demonstrate that any such interactions will not involve Chinese individuals known “to have direct involvement with violations of human rights,” and requiring at least least 30 days advance notice to Congress.

  28. #118
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    Quote Originally Posted by selvaarchi View Post
    Some news on the service module and some future plans, including leaving L2 in January 2015.

    I must say, I am impressed with the sort of detail, the Chinese are going about their moon exploration. Very surprised at the amount of extra tasks they have given the service module. If it is going to go that close to the moon in January, it will be to take close up pictures of the possible landing sites. I wonder how they are going to use the GPS system?

    http://www.ecns.cn/2014/12-03/145158.shtml
    The service module left L2 yesterday (Sunday) and is now set to circle the moon. No details on what it will do there other then to support the Chang'e 5 mission.

    http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/ch..._133898173.htm

    The service module of China's unmanned lunar orbiter is scheduled to return to the moon's orbit in mid-January for more tests to prepare for the country's next lunar probe mission, Chang'e-5.

    On Sunday, the service module left the Earth-Moon second Lagrange Point (L2) after circling the point while performing additional tests, the State Administration of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defense (SASTIND) said Monday.

    A lunar orbiter is a spacecraft that orbits the moon, and its service module contains support systems used for spacecraft operations.

    "It was the first time for a Chinese spacecraft to reach the L2 point, and the service module completed three circles around the point, expanding probe missions," said Zhao Wenbo, vice director of SASTIND's lunar probe and space project center.

  29. #119
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    China’s Moon exploration community has been saluting the anniversary of its Chang’e 3 lunar lander that touched down on December 14, 2013. Unfortunately the captions that go with the pictures are in Chinese, but enjoy, the pictures are worth a thousand words each.

    http://moon.bao.ac.cn/multimedia/img2dce3.jsp

  30. #120
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    There has been a lot of speculation if the moon lander is still active with reports there have been no signals detected from it. Parish the thoughts, China just released a photo taken by it on December 2nd 2014.

    http://www.leonarddavid.com/china-mo...images-galaxy/

    China’s Chang’e-3 lunar lander remains operational, in evidence by a newly distributed image taken by the spacecraft from the Moon’s surface.

    According to the informative Lunar Enterprise Daily, the Chinese lander made the first observation of a galaxy from its landing site: M101 Spiral. [SEE NOTE BELOW]

    The lander’s Lunar Ultraviolet Telescope (LUT) made the observation on December 2.

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