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Chinese Space Program

Flyaway

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Flyaway

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Chang'e-5 completes first orbital correction en route to Earth
2020-12-14 12:36:22

BEIJING, Dec. 14 (Xinhua) -- China's Chang'e-5 probe on Monday completed its first orbital correction en route to Earth, according to the China National Space Administration (CNSA).

The orbital correction was conducted at 11:13 a.m. (Beijing Time) when the two 25N engines on the orbiter-returner combination were operational for about 28 seconds.

The CNSA said all systems on the orbiter-returner combination that carries lunar samples are currently in good condition.

The orbiter-returner combination entered the moon-Earth transfer orbit on Sunday.

When the time is right, the orbiter and returner will separate from one another, according to the CNSA. The probe's returner is expected to land at the Siziwang Banner in north China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region in mid-December.

Chang'e-5 is one of the most complicated and challenging missions in China's aerospace history. It is also the world's first moon-sample mission in more than 40 years.

The probe, comprising an orbiter, a lander, an ascender and a returner, was launched on Nov. 24, and its lander-ascender combination touched down on the north of the Mons Rumker in Oceanus Procellarum, also known as the Ocean of Storms, on the near side of the moon on Dec. 1.
 

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China's spacecraft brings home moon samples
2020-12-17 04:14:05

BEIJING, Dec. 17 (Xinhua) -- The return capsule of China's Chang'e-5 probe touched down on Earth in the early hours of Thursday, bringing back the country's first samples collected from the moon, as well as the world's freshest lunar samples in over 40 years.

The spacecraft landed in Siziwang Banner, north China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, at 1:59 a.m. (Beijing Time), according to the China National Space Administration (CNSA).

Zhang Kejian, head of the CNSA, declared the Chang'e-5 mission a success.

It marks a successful conclusion of China's current three-step lunar exploration program of orbiting and landing, and bringing back samples, which began in 2004.

Under ground control, the return capsule separated from the orbiter about 5,000 km above the Atlantic. The capsule entered the Earth's atmosphere at an altitude of about 120 km and a speed of about 11.2 km per second at 1:33 a.m.

After aerodynamic deceleration, it skipped out of the atmosphere. Then the capsule re-entered the atmosphere to perform aerodynamic deceleration a second time. At about 10 km above ground, a parachute opened.

The capsule landed smoothly in the predetermined area, and the search team recovered it.

The capsule is set to be airlifted to Beijing for opening, and the moon samples will be delivered to the research team for analysis and study, said the CNSA.

China will make some of the samples available to scientists in other countries, Pei Zhaoyu, deputy director of the Lunar Exploration and Space Program Center of CNSA, has said.

Chang'e-5 is one of the most complicated and challenging missions in China's aerospace history. The probe, comprising an orbiter, a lander, an ascender and a returner, was launched on Nov. 24, and its lander-ascender combination touched down on the north of the Mons Rumker in Oceanus Procellarum, also known as the Ocean of Storms, on the near side of the moon on Dec. 1.

This site was chosen because it had a younger geological age than the sampling areas of the United States and the Soviet Union more than 40 years ago, and had never been sampled. The new samples will be of great scientific value, said researchers.

Though lunar samples were brought back in U.S. and Soviet missions, scientists need more samples of different ages to piece together a complete history of the moon.

Chang'e-5 drilled into the lunar surface for samples that record evolutionary events, and grabbed material on the surface. Using modern analytical technologies, scientists will be able to unravel the mysteries of volcanic activities and meteorite impacts over the past billion years.

The probe has collected material at different sites to ensure the diversity of the samples.

After the samples were sealed, the probe's ascender successfully took off from the moon and docked with the orbiter-returner combination in lunar orbit.

The samples were transferred to the returner, before the ascender separated from the orbiter-returner. To avoid becoming space junk, the ascender made a controlled descent back to the moon, said the CNSA.

Then the orbiter-returner carried the precious samples home.

Pei Zhaoyu said the Chang'e-5 mission not only represented an end to China's current lunar exploration program, but also laid a foundation for future manned lunar and deep space exploration.

The milestone mission has accomplished several firsts for China, including the first moon sampling, the first liftoff from an extraterrestrial body, the first rendezvous and docking in lunar orbit, and the first spacecraft carrying samples to re-enter the Earth's atmosphere at high speed.

China is drawing up plans for future lunar exploration, including constructing a basic version of a scientific research station, said Pei.

"We hope to cooperate with other countries to build the international lunar scientific research station, which could provide a shared platform for lunar scientific exploration and technological experiments," Pei said.
 

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China's new carrier rocket Long March-8 makes maiden flight
2020-12-22 13:36:09

WENCHANG, Hainan, Dec. 22 (Xinhua) -- China's new medium-lift carrier rocket Long March-8 made its maiden flight on Tuesday, sending five satellites into planned orbit, according to the China National Space Administration (CNSA).

The rocket blasted off from the Wenchang Spacecraft Launch Site on the coast of southern China's island province of Hainan at 12:37 p.m. (Beijing Time).

The Long March-8 rocket has a total length of 50.3 meters, with a takeoff mass of 356 tonnes. It can carry a payload of at least 4.5 tonnes to a sun-synchronous orbit at an altitude of 700 km.

The rocket fills the gap in China's launch capability to the sun-synchronous orbit from 3 tonnes to 4.5 tonnes, and is of great significance for accelerating the upgrading of launch vehicles, according to the CNSA.
 

TomcatViP

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So why would someone want to keep strap-on boosters instead of integrating them into the first stage? Instead of having three self supporting shell body, they would have just one with a greater section (better).
 

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China to launch core module of space station in first half of 2021
2020-12-25 20:41:57

CHANGSHA, Dec. 25 (Xinhua) -- China plans to launch the core module of its manned space station in the first half of 2021, a senior official said Friday.

The core module will be sent by a Long March-5B Y2 rocket from the Wenchang Spacecraft Launch Site in Hainan Province, said Zhou Jianping, chief designer of China's manned space program, at a handover ceremony for the return capsule of the Shenzhou-10 manned spacecraft in Shaoshan, central China's Hunan Province.

"Subsequent space missions include the launches of Tianzhou-2 cargo craft and Shenzhou-12 manned craft after the core module is sent into orbit," Zhou said.

Tests on the core module have been completed, and astronaut training is underway. The astronauts will carry out a number of extravehicular activities.

China is scheduled to complete the construction of the space station around 2022. The construction project will be implemented in two phases. Six flight missions, including the launch of the core module, have been scheduled in the phase of key technology validation.
 

Flyaway

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Things are going to be rather busy for China in the new year as far as space exploration is concerned, with the first stage of the Space Station getting launched and the Mars rover landing as well.
I think we will be seeing more of the fruits of what to many may have looked a glacial approach to space in the coming decade.
 

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Grey Havoc

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Flyaway

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Via Satori on NSF.

Tianhe-1, Tiangong's space station core module, is schedule for launch in the first half of 2021.

Tianzhou-2 to be launched after Tianhe-1 and before Shanzhou-12.

Shenzhou-12 to be launched possibly in the first half of 2021 and to be the first manned occupancy of Tiangong (Tianhe-1).

Shenzhou-13 will probably take place on the second half of 2021.
 

Flyaway

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FighterJock

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Deino, do you know how long Tianwen-1 has got to go before it lands on Mars?
 

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