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to the Moon

Chang'e 5

The Chang’e 5 lunar mission will be China’s first attempt to bring a sample from the Moon’s surface back to Earth.

The fifth of China’s Moon missions, Chang’e 5 is, like those before it, named after the Chinese Moon goddess, Chang’e.

The first lunar sample return mission since 1976, if successful, Chang’e 5 will make China only the third nation to bring a portion of the Moon back to Earth, the others being the United States and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.

The mission will land on the side of the Moon that always faces Earth at the Mons Rümker region in Oceanus Procellarum.

The lander will collect 2 kg of material from 2 meters (6.6 ft) below the lunar surface and place the sample in the ascent vehicle that will then be launched back into orbit of the Moon.

From there, the ascent vehicle will autonomously dock to the orbiter portion of the mission and transfer its collected sample to the return capsule to be sent back to Earth.

The return capsule design was tested successfully in 2014, and the test platform of the orbiter successfully completed maneuver tests in 2015.

Image: Chang'e 5 from CCTV.

On this


Chang Zheng 5

This is China's heavy lift rocket.

Developed by the China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology, the Chang Zheng 5 can take:

  • 25,000 kg to Low Earth Orbit
  • 14,000 kg to Geostationary Transfer Orbit
  • 8,200 kg to the Moon.

Chang Zheng 5 engineers undertook 20 years of feasibility studies on the rocket before the program was finally approved by Chinese government officials in 2007.

The rocket flew for the first time in 2016.

Its first two missions were less than perfect. The first flight dropped the payload off in a wrong - but "workable" - orbit. The second launch failed.

After the second failure, the rocket's booster engines were redesigned.

The thrid flight was a success, paving the way for a host of critical missions.

In 2020 alone, the Chang Zheng 5 is scheduled to launch China's Chang'e 5 lunar sample return mission, a new crewed spacecraft (which it did successfully in April), and the Tianwen-1 mission to Mars.

In 2021, it will launch China's multi-module space station.

Eventually, China hopoes the Chang Zheng 5 will account for 10-15% of the world's total orbital launches each year.


First Stage Boosters
Number: 4
Length: 27.6 m / 91 ft
Diameter: 3.35 m / 11 ft
Launch mass (each): 155,700 kg / 343,300 lb
Engines: 2 x YF-100 (each)
Thrust: 9,600 kN / 2,200,000 lbf (total)
Burn Time: 180 seconds
Fuel: RP-1 Kerosene / Liquid Oxygen

First Stage Core
Length: 31.7 m / 104 ft
Diameter: 5m / 16 ft
Launch mass: 175,600 kg / 387,100 lb)
Engines: 2 x YF-77
Thrust: 1,020 kN / 230,000 lbf (sea level); 1,400 kN / 310,000 lbf (space)
Burn Time: 480 seconds
Fuel: Liquid Hydrogen / Liquid Oxygen

Second Stage
Length: 10.6 m / 35 ft
Diameter: 5m / 16 ft
Launch mass: 22,200 kg / 48,900 lb
Engines: 2 x YF-75D
Thrust: 176.52 kN / 39,680 lbf
Burn Time; 700 seconds
Fuel: Liquid Hydrogen / Liquid Oxygen

Third Stage
Engines: 2 x YF-50D
Thrust: 6.5 kN / 1,500 lbf
Burn Time: 1,105 seconds
Fuel: Nitrogen Tetroxide / Unsymmetrical dimethylhydrazine

From this

launch site

LC-1 -- Wenchang Spacecraft Launch Site, People's Republic of China

Wenchang is a former suborbital test site located in Wenchang, Hainan, China.

It is China's southern-most launch site. Located on an island, rocket stages are delivered via ship to the island's sea ports.

Construction of the orbital launch pads and ground equipment were approved on September 27th, 2007.

The launch site was completed in October 2014, and the first orbital launch from the spaceport took place on June 25th, 2016.

Operations at Wenchang are managed by the Xichang Satellite Launch Center, of which Wenchang is technicaly a part.


lands here

Mons Rümker, Oceanus Procellarum, Moon

Mons Rümker is a volcanic formation on the Moon's surface located in the Oceanus Procellarum -- "Ocean of Storms" -- area.

Mons Rümker stretches 70 km across the lunar surface and peaks in elevation at 1.1 km above the local landscape.

The photo of Mons Rümker seen here was captured by the astronauts of Apollo 15.

Credit: NASA, Apollo 15

Here's where to view Chang'e 5

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