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Thread: China's moon exploration ambitions

  1. #61
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    Quote Originally Posted by selvaarchi View Post
    Rereading all the information on the new launch and comments of the Chinese scientist, on how they are unhappy that they still do not know, what exactly crippled Jade rabbit, I suspect Chang'e-4 is not scraped but will be launched at some point in the future. It will have a lander and rover like Chang'e-3 but be modified to include some elements of Chang'e-5. Exactly what I really do not know. My guess will be to launch the sample return capsule from the moon's surface.
    Certainly they want to know, but Yutu did outlast it's design. So, I don't think they would launch a mission like that with their progression of missions.

    If what Ladkawalla is saying is true, it does sound like an option. But; I wonder where she's getting her information.
    From what I can see of the hardware, they would have to scrap a large part of Chang'e-5's ability to fit a rover back on the lander. I guess it would work if they remove all the Chang'e 5's instrumentation and mining equipment to make room for the rover. They would have to give the rover some kind of way to pick up and deliver the samples to the return capsule. So; in that case, the rover wouldn't be the same.

    I do get tired of these guessing games with them.

  2. #62
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    Quote Originally Posted by NEOWatcher View Post
    I don't know if I can't see these twitter things, or if there is some regional blocking, but I can't see that.
    Looking at the wrong place. Look under Background information - "Chinese state television video preview of mission, August 10"

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    Quote Originally Posted by NEOWatcher View Post
    Certainly they want to know, but Yutu did outlast it's design. So, I don't think they would launch a mission like that with their progression of missions.

    If what Ladkawalla is saying is true, it does sound like an option. But; I wonder where she's getting her information.
    From what I can see of the hardware, they would have to scrap a large part of Chang'e-5's ability to fit a rover back on the lander. I guess it would work if they remove all the Chang'e 5's instrumentation and mining equipment to make room for the rover. They would have to give the rover some kind of way to pick up and deliver the samples to the return capsule. So; in that case, the rover wouldn't be the same.

    I do get tired of these guessing games with them.
    Look at it the other way around. Chang'e-4 being upgraded to include some of Chang'e-5's capabilities. That will make Chang'e-4 much heavier. I suspect they might launch it using either the test mission of Long March 5 or 7 to take the extra weight. There will not be any samples being returned.

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    Quote Originally Posted by selvaarchi View Post
    Looking at the wrong place. Look under Background information - "Chinese state television video preview of mission, August 10"
    Thanks (this is the link). But that's not what you first described. (1:23 vs 5 minutes, and no shot of the rocket)
    Unfortunately; without knowing what they are seeing, it's hard to tell what's going on because the keep going back and forth between phases of the mission and interject Change'5 elements into it. Most of the video is of a truck driving by (presumably carrying the probe)

    I was able to pull up the other link. 9 seconds containing only the ignition.

    (I think my earlier problem is because she's not using direct links, but some link shortcut service)

  5. #65
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    Quote Originally Posted by selvaarchi View Post
    Look at it the other way around. Chang'e-4 being upgraded to include some of Chang'e-5's capabilities. That will make Chang'e-4 much heavier. I suspect they might launch it using either the test mission of Long March 5 or 7 to take the extra weight.
    The launch vehicle capabilities are not the issue. It's the weight of the landing with the existing hardware that's the issue.

    Quote Originally Posted by selvaarchi View Post
    There will not be any samples being returned.
    Then what Chang'e 5 capabilities would it need?
    Last edited by NEOWatcher; 2014-Nov-06 at 01:03 PM. Reason: fixed formatting

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    Quote Originally Posted by NEOWatcher View Post
    Then what Chang'e 5 capabilities would it need?
    They are testing the sample return capsule with the current mission by just slinging around the moon and bringing it back to earth. Next I see them landing it on the moon and bringing it back to earth. Chang'e-5 is the mission where they will fill it with samples to bring it back to earth.

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    Quote Originally Posted by selvaarchi View Post
    They are testing the sample return capsule with the current mission by just slinging around the moon and bringing it back to earth. Next I see them landing it on the moon and bringing it back to earth. Chang'e-5 is the mission where they will fill it with samples to bring it back to earth.
    Now you're confusing me again.
    What do you see as "next"... Chang'e 4 or Chang'e 5?
    And what do you mean by "bring it back to Earth"? Bring what back?

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    Quote Originally Posted by NEOWatcher View Post
    Now you're confusing me again.
    What do you see as "next"... Chang'e 4 or Chang'e 5?
    And what do you mean by "bring it back to Earth"? Bring what back?
    Chang'e-4 is next and it will have a lander and rover. On top of that it will have the sample return capsule and the ability to launch it off the moon and bring it back to earth. At least that is what I think.

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    Quote Originally Posted by selvaarchi View Post
    Chang'e-4 is next and it will have a lander and rover. On top of that it will have the sample return capsule and the ability to launch it off the moon and bring it back to earth. At least that is what I think.
    That's the problem I have with the idea. That's a lot of extra weight and equipment that has to land on the moon.
    Although; I don't know what the weights or capabilities of the 5 lander are, and if it's the same basic lander as Chang'e 3.

    Change'3 had a total mass of 3800 kg to land a 140 kg rover. More than 2/3 was the fuel to land bringing the craft to 1200kg.

    If they are different landers, then I'm sure that loading a rocket, capsule, and propellent enough for ascent and return is not going to happen if there is a Change'4.

    If not, it would show the capabilities of the return craft. But; by that time, you might as well return samples and launch Chang'e 5.

    Another possibility is to put a rover on a later Chang'e mission once the 5 mission is successful.

    There's way too many unknowns to make any kind of speculation. That's why I question yours. It seems emotionally based.

  10. #70
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    Quote Originally Posted by NEOWatcher View Post
    That's the problem I have with the idea. That's a lot of extra weight and equipment that has to land on the moon.
    Although; I don't know what the weights or capabilities of the 5 lander are, and if it's the same basic lander as Chang'e 3.

    Change'3 had a total mass of 3800 kg to land a 140 kg rover. More than 2/3 was the fuel to land bringing the craft to 1200kg.

    If they are different landers, then I'm sure that loading a rocket, capsule, and propellent enough for ascent and return is not going to happen if there is a Change'4.

    If not, it would show the capabilities of the return craft. But; by that time, you might as well return samples and launch Chang'e 5.

    Another possibility is to put a rover on a later Chang'e mission once the 5 mission is successful.

    There's way too many unknowns to make any kind of speculation. That's why I question yours. It seems emotionally based.
    Most of the comments I have seen, indicate the lander is much bigger then what is required for the rover. Based on that and the US model for the moon landing, I added a launcher to sit on top of the rover. As we keep saying, it is pure speculation but it keeps us busy thinking of the possibilities.

  11. #71
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    Quote Originally Posted by selvaarchi View Post
    Most of the comments I have seen, indicate the lander is much bigger then what is required for the rover.
    I did question the concept even if the lander is bigger. Putting the sample return on Chang'e 4 (if capable) becomes a Chang'e 5 mission anyway.

  12. #72
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    Quote Originally Posted by NEOWatcher View Post
    I did question the concept even if the lander is bigger. Putting the sample return on Chang'e 4 (if capable) becomes a Chang'e 5 mission anyway.
    I am going by they statements the the Chang'e 4 will be modified to support Chang'e 5. They also are not happy that they do not know for sure why the rover stopped working.

    So what I am expecting is a upgraded rover that hopefully fixes the problem. Then look at the Chang'e 5 mission and speculate which component they can include in this mission. They are in the process of testing the reentry of the sample return capsule. If that fails then I would expect them to try again in the modified Chang'e 4 mission (the sample return module separating and returning to earth before the lander lands on the moon). If it succeeds then to land it with the lander and then to blast off the moon and return to earth (with no samples).

  13. #73
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    China keeps surprising me with it's news releases on the latest probe to the moon. The latest news release says the probe will remain in lunar orbit for 32 hours.

    http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/sc..._133745477.htm

    The orbiter, launched Friday last week atop an advanced Long March-3C rocket, entered the Moon's gravitational sphere of influence Monday at noon, and is expected to remain there for the next 32 hours.

    It is currently orbiting at around 60,000 kilometers from the moon and is making required adjustments for its transfer from the lunar orbit back to the terrestrial orbit scheduled for late Tuesday.

    The test orbiter will then maneuver on the edge of the Earth's atmosphere to slow from a speed of 11.2 kilometers per second before re-entry, a process that generates extremely high temperatures.
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  14. #74
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    Quote Originally Posted by selvaarchi View Post
    China keeps surprising me with it's news releases on the latest probe to the moon. The latest news release says the probe will remain in lunar orbit for 32 hours.
    It depends on what you are thinking when they say "orbit".

    The other wording indicates that they consider being in the moon's gravitational influence as being in orbit. I haven't done the calculations, but 32 hours seems about right for a free return trajectory if they aren't getting any closer than 60000km.

    So; Technically, it is an orbit, but it's not a full orbit (as in "completing a lap").

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    Quote Originally Posted by NEOWatcher View Post
    It depends on what you are thinking when they say "orbit".

    The other wording indicates that they consider being in the moon's gravitational influence as being in orbit. I haven't done the calculations, but 32 hours seems about right for a free return trajectory if they aren't getting any closer than 60000km.

    So; Technically, it is an orbit, but it's not a full orbit (as in "completing a lap").
    Ok, I was wrong as I interpreted 32 hours as being more than one orbit round the moon.
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  16. #76
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    Here's another way to picture it without getting precise numbers (if it helps)...
    A Geosynchronous orbit is about 37000km from Earth. (a bit less than 24 hours).

    So, with a larger orbit, and a smaller mass to orbit around, it's going to take longer.

    If they didn't give the distance, I would have wondered what they were doing too.

  17. #77
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    BTW:
    Fraser has this story today too. He's got pictures too.
    Of particular interest is the shot of the entire moon with the entire Earth in the background.

  18. #78
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    Quote Originally Posted by NEOWatcher View Post
    Here's another way to picture it without getting precise numbers (if it helps)...
    A Geosynchronous orbit is about 37000km from Earth. (a bit less than 24 hours).

    So, with a larger orbit, and a smaller mass to orbit around, it's going to take longer.

    If they didn't give the distance, I would have wondered what they were doing too.
    Thanks NEOWatcher. Pictures Fraser pointed to are also available on "China Space " Facebook page.
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  19. #79
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    The no name probe will be back in 2 days (1st November )

    http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/ph...33751151_3.htm

    . The lunar orbiter is expected to fly back to the earth on Nov. 1, after flying away the Moon's gravitational sphere of influence and transferring to terrestrial orbit,
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  20. #80
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    China is now the 3rd country to send a probe around the moon and return it safely to earth. They are doing it 45 years later than the US and Russia. Still it is something not done for over 45 years. Congratulations China and best wishes for your sample return mission.

    http://www.spacedaily.com/m/reports/..._back_999.html

    China completed its first return mission to the moon early Saturday with the successful re-entry and landing of an unmanned probe, state media reported, in the latest step forward for Beijing's ambitious space programme.

    The probe landed safely in northern China's Inner Mongolia region, state news agency Xinhua said, citing the Beijing Aerospace Control Center.
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    I am looking forward to more on the development of the CZ-9 myself.

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    The just returned lunar probe has been nicknamed "Xiaofei" on Chinese social networks.

    http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/ch..._133757831.htm

    Launched Friday last week, the orbiter traversed 840,000 kilometers on its eight-day mission that saw it round the far side of the Moon and take some incredible pictures of Earth and Moon together.

    The re-entry process began at around 6:13 a.m. Saturday morning, with the orbiter approaching Earth at a velocity of about 11.2 kilometers per second.

    The high speed led to hefty friction between the orbiter and air and high temperatures on the craft's exterior, generating an ion sheath that cut off contact between ground command and the orbiter.

    To help it slow down, the craft is designed to "bounce" off the edge of the atmosphere, before re-entering again. The process has been compared to a stone skipping across water, and can shorten the "braking distance" for the orbiter, according to Zhou Jianliang, chief engineer with the Beijing Aerospace Command and Control Center.

    "Really, this is like braking a car," said Zhou, "The faster you drive, the longer the distance you need to bring the car to a complete stop."
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    Dr Morris Jones and the successful return of China's first circumlunar spacecraft.

    http://www.spacedaily.com/reports/Ch...ccess_999.html

    The landing of the capsule marks the end of the main goals of this mission, and that alone is enough to make the entire flight worthwhile. But the mission continues. The boxy spacecraft "bus" that carried the capsule to the Moon and back is still functioning.

    It's in a highly elongated Earth orbit, awaiting further tasks. Exactly what China plans to do with it remains to be seen. The spacecraft could be used to explore the particles and fields environment of cislunar space, as the Earth's magnetic field gradually diminishes with distance.

    It could also be sent to explore some of the Lagrangian points in the Earth-Moon system. These are five imaginary points in space where the gravitational points of these two worlds are in equilibrium, and some of them can serve as "anchor points" for orbiting spacecraft.

    These areas have barely been explored by spacecraft, and they should be investigated further for any debris that could be lurking in these places. Alternatively, China could send the spacecraft on a series of tricky gravity-assist maneuvers to gain free energy from the Moon, changing its trajectory. Such moves could lead to more spacecraft making complex but fuel-efficient flights to the Moon in the future. This analyst does not believe that the spacecraft will be sent on any interplanetary trajectories.

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  26. #86
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    Quote Originally Posted by selvaarchi View Post
    The just returned lunar probe has been nicknamed "Xiaofei" on Chinese social networks.

    http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/ch..._133757831.htm
    That article is almost word for word the same as your previous link.
    You should have mentioned that the difference is that this one actually has a picture of the landed craft.

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    I was more interested in the nickname that the Chinese social networks were using.
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    Quote Originally Posted by selvaarchi View Post
    I was more interested in the nickname that the Chinese social networks were using.
    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?

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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?
    No I do not but will ask my Malaysian Chinese friends. The second article you are referring to is by Dr Jones and there it was his speculation on what China would do with the "bus" that brought the probe back to earth
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    Quote Originally Posted by selvaarchi View Post
    Dr Morris Jones and the successful return of China's first circumlunar spacecraft.

    http://www.spacedaily.com/reports/Ch...ccess_999.html
    Maybe not true interplanetary flight--but having a sat that is on the ready to do gravity assist might be useful in case we have a NEO, and get a chance to have this craft un across it.

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