Chang'e 6 lunar mission will be launched soon


The Chang'e 6 probe atop a Long March 5 carrier rocket is transported to the launch pad in Wenchang, Hainan Province. (Photo provided to/chinadaily.com.cn)

China's next lunar probe, Chang'e 6, is set to launch its mission in the coming days to bring back samples from a little-known remote region of the moon, the China National Space Administration said in a news release. liberation

The Long March 5 carrier rocket, carrying an 8.2-metric-ton Chang'e 6 probe, was transferred to its launch service tower at the Wenchang Space Launch Center in Hainan province on Saturday morning, the administration said. The flight will take place early next month.

The Chang'e 6 was delivered to the launch center in January, while the Long March 5 rocket arrived in March.

They were assembled and tested in space.

In the next few days, engineers will make final operational tests and inject propellants into the rocket, the statement said.

If all goes as planned, after entering the lunar orbit, Song 6 will perform a series of maneuvers before landing in the far south pole-Aitken basin of the moon.

Like the Chang'e 5, its predecessor, the Chang'e 6 is a product of the Chinese Academy of Space Technology in Beijing and consists of four components: an orbiter, a lander, an ascender and a reentry module.

After collecting lunar dust and rocks, the Ascendant will carry the samples to lunar orbit and back to the entry module, which will transport them back to Earth.

Meanwhile, the science instruments on the lander will continue their operation until they have enough power.

The United States, the former Soviet Union and China have sent lunar samples back to Earth, but none have recovered soil from the far side of the moon.

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Although the remote region has previously been photographed by spacecraft, no probes landed on it until January 2019, when China's Chang'e 4 mission landed in the South Pole-Aitken Basin.

China's most recent lunar mission, Chang'e 5, took place in late 2020 and lasted 23 days. It was the country's first lunar sample return mission and one of its most sophisticated and challenging space ventures.

The landmark mission recovered 1,731 grams of rocks and soil, making it the first lunar probe program to bring back samples from the moon since the Apollo era of the late 1960s and early 1970s.


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