Lunar mission "Chang'e-5" (China)

The People’s Republic of China continues to work on its projects in the rocket and space field. Perhaps the most courageous and ambitious project is the study of the moon. As part of its own lunar program, Chinese experts have already developed and implemented several projects, and continue to work on new spacecraft. In the near future, the next unit will be sent to the Moon. First time in stories Chinese astronautics plans to deliver samples of lunar soil to Earth.

Recall that the Chinese rocket and space industry took its first steps in researching the only natural satellite of Earth for a long time. The first real results were obtained in 2007 year. October 24 2007-th launch of the launch vehicle with the spacecraft "Chang'e-1". This device and all subsequent developments of the "lunar destination" got their name in honor of the character of Chinese mythology, who had a direct relationship to the moon (in some myths, Chang'e is even called the goddess of the moon). A few days later the lunar module went into a given orbit and began to collect information about the lunar surface. During the year, the device was shooting the surface of the satellite, which was necessary for drawing up its detailed three-dimensional map. 1 March 2009, the Chang'e-1 product was derailed and fell onto the surface of the moon.

Heavy Changzheng-5 booster before first launch, November 2016. Photo by Chinese Academy of Space Technology /

October 1 The 2010 of the year launched the Chang'e-2 mission. At this time, the purpose of the spacecraft was to study a given area of ​​the moon, in which it was supposed to make a soft landing of the next lunar module. After all the required actions, the “Chang'e-2” machine was brought to the Lagrange point L2 (Earth-Moon system), and then sent to meet the asteroid (4179) Tautatis. At the end of 2012, images of a celestial body were taken, after which the research apparatus went into deep space.

A survey of the surface of the moon was the first stage of the Chinese lunar program. In the framework of the second stage, it was proposed to deliver the landing module with the rover on board to the natural satellite. In the first days of December, the Xanum-2013 module with the Yuytu lunar rover (Jade hare-Chang'e satellite) was sent to the Moon to the Moon in early December. In the middle of the month, the device made a soft landing in a given area. It is noteworthy that this mission made China the third country in the world that managed to land a research apparatus on the moon. Previously, it was possible only to the Soviet Union and the United States. After landing, the missions of the Chang'e-3 mission were solved only partially due to various technical problems.

Currently, the rocket and space industry in China is preparing for the third phase of the moon exploration program. This time the task of the spacecraft is not only to land on the satellite surface, but also to collect soil samples and then deliver them to Earth. This problem is supposed to be solved during the “Chang'e-5” mission. In addition, to study some issues, we had to develop an auxiliary spacecraft, Chang'e-5Т1.

Landing module station "Chang'e-3". Photo

Before preparing for the launch of the Chang'e-5 mission, it was decided to conduct preliminary studies using the Chang'e-5Т1 equivalent station. Unlike a full-fledged automatic lunar station, the product with the letters “5Т1” had only a service module on the DFH-3A platform and a descent vehicle. The mission of the mission was to fly over the moon along a predetermined trajectory with the subsequent return to Earth and the discharge of the descent vehicle. Such a flight was supposed to show the potential of the Chang'e-5 spacecraft under development, and was also needed to determine the necessary improvements.

23 October 2014 launched the Changzheng-3С launch vehicle from the Xichang space center (Sichuan province) and brought the Chang'e-5Т1 spacecraft to a predetermined trajectory. It took about five days to fly to the Moon and pass through its orbit, after which the device headed back to Earth. October 31 service module dropped the lander, after which he landed in the autonomous region of Inner Mongolia. Over the next few weeks, a series of orbit adjustments were made, after which Chang'e-5Т1 again went to the Moon. At the end of November, the device was put into orbit near the Lagrange point L2, where it was planned to be held for new research.

At the beginning of 2017, the Chinese media published information about the current status of the Chang'e-5 project and the current plans for the space industry. By this time, the Chinese National Space Administration and the enterprises of the rocket and space industry had come quite far in preparing the future mission. In addition, by January, the dates for launching a new spacecraft were determined. So, the first results of the new project should be received already this year.

Lunokhod "Yuytu" on the surface of the moon. Photo

According to official reports, the launch of the Chang'e-5 mission will take place in November. By the end of the month, the automatic lunar station will go into orbit of the Earth’s satellite and then drop the landing module, whose task will be to conduct surface surveys and sample collection. In the absence of serious technical problems, by the beginning of next year, new regolith portions will be in the hands of Chinese scientists, and in sufficiently large quantities.

According to reports, the automatic station Chang'e-5 will be a fairly large and heavy complex, consisting of several main components. To solve all the tasks assigned, modules with special equipment with a total mass of 8200 kg will be used. In connection with this, the launch of the station will be carried out by the Changzheng-5 heavy-class launch vehicle.

This rocket has a three-stage design and is capable of outputting up to 25 tons of cargo to low earth orbit. Engines of various stages and accelerators use kerosene or liquefied hydrogen with liquid oxygen as an oxidizing agent. In early November last year, the Changzheng-5 rocket made its first flight. The second and most recent launch took place on July 2 this year. Both times the rockets were launched from the Wenchang space center (Hainan Island). The next launch is scheduled for November. The payload of the launch vehicle will be Chang'e-5 station. In the future, a new type of rocket can again be used in the lunar program.

To solve the problem of collecting lunar soil with the subsequent return of samples to Earth, the spacecraft Chang'e-5 should consist of several main components: the orbital, landing, takeoff and return modules. Also previously published information about the possibility of using the planet rover, but later, apparently, such a product was decided to be transferred to the next mission. Thus, the collection of soil samples will be carried out in the immediate vicinity of the planting module. Nevertheless, it should be noted that in this case, the successful completion of the mission will be a real breakthrough for the Chinese astronautics.

Lunar mission "Chang'e-5" (China)
Experimental spacecraft "Chang'-5Т1". Figure

One of the largest parts of the promising complex will be the orbital module, designed to ensure the delivery of other components to the Moon and back to Earth. It receives a cylindrical body, on the sides of which there are solar batteries laid out in flight. The module is also equipped with a power plant with fuel tanks, control equipment and a casing-housing for connection with the landing module. Inside the enclosure will be a separate return module.

According to published images, the boarding module will be a platform with several light tubular supports and a set of special equipment. It is proposed to equip it with solar batteries, batteries, controls and devices for collecting soil. The roof of the hull of this product will become the launching pad for the take-off module. Thus, the landing module will be able to collect samples and ensure their delivery to the lunar orbit. According to reports, the total weight of the landing module will be 1200 kg.

It is proposed to install a soil collection system using the principle of percussion drilling on the body of the landing module. With the help of a movable support, the auger will be brought to the ground surface, after which it will be able to drill small holes in it. Special cylindrical containers were developed for transporting samples. After loading the sample, the container will be hermetically sealed and placed in the appropriate volume of the take-off module. It is alleged that spacecraft will be able to bring to the Earth 2 kg of regolith.

The lander "Chang'e-5T1". Photo of Wikimedia Commons

Part of the research module landing will be able to hold on the spot. For this, it is equipped with some special equipment. On board there are means of analyzing the composition of the soil, soil gas analyzer, mineral spectrometer, etc. To control the operation of the controlled and automated systems, the module receives cameras, landing visors and other devices.

The take-off module, proposed in the project “Chang'e-5”, is a relatively compact and light device with its own power plant and control systems, as well as with a compartment for loading containers with samples. As follows from the published data, containers with a payload can be transferred to other components of the complex. This is necessary to simplify the transportation of soil to the Earth.

The return module of the Chang'e-5 station was designed using the experience of creating and operating the manned ships of the Shenzhou series and therefore must have an appropriate form. This device will receive the equipment for automatic control during independent flight in space and after entering the atmosphere. In addition, the returned module must be equipped with thermal protection. The descent in the atmosphere, after braking to acceptable speeds, will be carried out using a parachute.

From the point of view of the complexity of the program, the mission of Chang'e-5 should differ markedly from its predecessors, which, first of all, is related to the goals set. The launch vehicle will bring the entire complex into a given orbit, after which it will adjust its trajectory and go to the Moon. The orbit of the Earth’s satellite will be undocked, after which the landing module will go to its surface. The orbital module, in turn, will remain on its trajectory and will expect the device with a payload.

Architecture automatic station "Chang'e-5". Figure

After reaching the surface of the moon, the landing module will have to prepare for further work by deploying solar panels, drilling rigs, etc. Then his task will be to drill holes and collect samples and then load containers into the take-off module. Upon completion of this phase of work, the take-off module, using its own propulsion system, will return to orbit. The landing module will remain on the natural satellite of the Earth.

In near-moon orbit, the take-off module will automatically dock with the orbital one. After that there will be an overload of containers with tests in the returned device. Then the orbital module with the returned apparatus will be able to change the trajectory and go to Earth. At some relatively short distance from the planet, they will be uncoupled. The orbital module will burn in the atmosphere, whereas the returned module will have to land safely in a given area, delivering the samples to scientists.

The launch of the new automatic lunar station is scheduled for November of this year. All the main stages of the mission will take a relatively short time, so that the returned apparatus can deliver samples of lunar soil by the end of the year. The spacecraft "Chang'e-5" will also set a kind of record. Previously, automatic stations brought no more than a few hundred grams of rock from the moon, while the Chinese program means delivering 2 kg immediately.

Placement of drilling equipment. Figure

In early June, Chinese scientists named the landing area of ​​the modules of the new station. The landing module will have to descend to the Rumker peak, located in the region of the Ocean of Storms. This area of ​​the lunar surface is of volcanic origin and has a relatively young age. On-site research and the study of the delivered samples will provide new information on the development of erosion processes, on the cooling of the rock and on their interaction.

For several years after the return of the Chang'e-5 module with a cargo of lunar soil on board, Chinese science and industry will analyze the operating experience of the automatic station and draw the necessary conclusions. In the future, the existing developments will be used to create a new similar complex, which, however, will have slightly different tasks. For obvious reasons, the development of the Chang'e-6 station starts no earlier than the end of the November mission.

According to some data, in the next project of the lunar program, China plans to carry out a soft landing of an automatic station, on board of which, in addition to its own stationary equipment, a lunar rover will be present. The launch of such a complex is planned for 2020 for the year, but so far it cannot be excluded that the program schedule will be adjusted in one way or another.

The task of the next stage of the lunar program of the PRC can be the preparation for a manned flight to a natural satellite of the Earth. Probably, first, the Chinese experts will carry out several test missions using automation and remote control, and only after that they will start developing a fully-fledged manned vehicle. For obvious reasons, the timing of such work is still unknown and still can not be predicted. Apparently, the first works in this direction start no earlier than the middle of the next decade. The first manned flight of Chinese astronauts to the moon, respectively, will occur even later.

Start independent flight takeoff module. Figure

To date, the Chinese lunar program has achieved some success. Several automatic stations for various purposes have already been sent to the moon. It was possible to carry out a soft landing and bring the lunar rover with research equipment to the surface. In just a few months, a station with equipment will be sent to the target for researching the soil, as well as for collecting and sending it to Earth.

Projects of the Chang'e family were created by gradually working out various issues and improving the already finished equipment with its parallel change for current tasks and needs. Thanks to this, in about 7 years, we managed to go a long way from flying over the moon to a soft landing on its surface. It took almost three years to prepare for the mission with the return of the apparatus carrying the samples.

The new mission will start in a few months, and so far China has every reason to count on its successful completion. The return of the apparatus with regolith samples will show the correctness of the ideas underlying the newest project of the automatic lunar station, will help the further development of space technology, and in addition, will provide new information about the natural satellite of the Earth. Whether it will be possible to solve all the tasks in a single project - it will be known in the near future.

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  1. +6
    18 July 2017 09: 14
    The Chinese are stubbornly and with great expense following the path that has already been traveled at least twice. It is evident that they are seriously going to take up the resettlement program. Moreover, the version that Americans found life there wanders.
    I won’t be surprised if in eleven years we observe the creation of joint Lunsko-Chinese enterprises.

    Station "Luna-16"
    1 Returning unit.
    2 Tape fastening of the returned device.
    3 Antenna on the take-off stage.
    4 Instrument compartment of the take-off stage.
    5 Take-off fuel tanks.
    6 Telephotometer.
    7 Instrument compartment landing stage.
    8 Rod suction device.
    9 Soil intake device.
    10 One main and two control rocket engines of the landing stage (not visible in this view).
    11 Landing racks.
    12 Belt supports.
    13 Fuel tanks landing stage.
    14 Small thrust rocket engines for in-flight control.
    15 Take-off rocket engine (closed by the instrument compartment in the figure).
    16 Unidirectional landing stage antenna.
    The first AMS to deliver lunar soil samples to Earth. It landed in the Sea of ​​Plenty (0 ° 41 'S, 56 ° 18' E) on September 20, 1970. An automatic soil sampling device with a capture distance of 0,9 m was designed to extract rock from a depth of 35 cm. A parachute was opened at the site of entry into the Earth’s atmosphere, whip antennas and metal “arrows” were set up to facilitate radar. The signals of the airborne beacon were received by airplanes and helicopters of the search and rescue service.
    The height is about 3,96 m. The breadth of the landing supports is 3,96 m. The mass when landing on the lunar surface is 1880 kg.
    Return to Earth
    AMS "Luna-16" landed by parachute 80 km southeast of Dzhezkazgan at 8 hours 26 minutes Moscow time on September 24, 1970
  2. +19
    18 July 2017 09: 38
    They do it all, “do it,” and we only “develop programs ..." Russia has already slipped from the level of a “space power” to the level of a “program (fake) power”, which is not capable of realizing any significant space project ... besides those related to the "global cut" ....
    1. +1
      18 July 2017 12: 39
      Not so bad. The Chinese in fact do not invent anything new. They only move along the path laid by the USSR and the USA. Neither of which resettlement and colonies on the moon is out of the question in the near future. This requires experience, including in the field of space medicine. China is only going to build its station. And only by the results of its operation, will it become clear whether they have enough technology and knowledge for independent development of the program. I think it is not necessary to say that the entire space program of China is a legacy of the USSR. When will the reserve end, will they have enough strength to continue the development further? For example, aircraft engines can be seen that not everything is so smooth in their kingdom.

      With regards to Roscosmos. Long-term roadmap begins to outline. And the RF will probably fly to the moon in the 30's. Unless of course, everything goes according to plan.

      1. +1
        18 July 2017 13: 28
        Yes, and the cut will obviously be cosmic. Let not the hand of the giver be scanty.
      2. +1
        18 July 2017 14: 43
        Quote: Choi
        Unless, of course, everything goes according to plan.

        According to Dulles’s plan.

        And according to the article - due to the July accident of the LV, the probability of flying in November is very low. First you need to finish the pH.
      3. +1
        18 July 2017 15: 11
        The PLAN and the "oligarchy" of the Russian Federation are two mutually exclusive concepts, but if the PLAN is replaced by a cut, everything will fall into place. China well done!
        1. 0
          18 July 2017 15: 47
          Quote: zoolu300
          if the PLAN is replaced by a cut

          To each his own.

          As far as I remember, the "plan" suggested drinking vodka and dealing with "sexual problems."
          Not so bad, NMV. There were (and are) worse plans here.
          1. 0
            20 July 2017 12: 33
            What did you drink or smoke?
            1. +1
              21 July 2017 11: 07
              Quote: NordUral
              What did you drink or smoke?

              I do not like this.
              But there are such special cupcakes ....
      4. 0
        7 February 2020 13: 30
        With regards to Roscosmos. Long-term roadmap begins to outline. And the RF will probably fly to the moon in the 30's. Unless of course, everything goes according to plan.

        I beg you ... I was told in 2008 from the screens of Roscosmos at the MAKS that in 2015 an unmanned mission to the moon, then in 2020, the landing, and already in 2025 the extraction of helium-3 for thermonuclear power plants of the future ... what? laughing Then every 3 years smoothly shifted the terms by five years in these beautiful pictures that you brought. Nothing has been and never is. There is no hangar and there is no manned version of it (and most likely it will not, then what is its salt?), There is no A7 version, there is no sane launch for it ... it will be kind of like by 2025. The Federation or how it is now Oryol (before that was PTK NP) has been in development for about 40 years (everyone is processing Zarya in one form or another, creating mutants Soyuz-Apollo-Zarya-Clipper). We have no launch vehicle, no ship ... no launch for this missile. Until the 30th year, 10 years in total ... something tells me everything will remain in the project stage. The Americans will finish their two orbitals KruZmey and Zvezdniy Liner, as well as the long-range Orion and oops ... we will no longer need anyone in manned space exploration. In principle, we will have nowhere to fly after the year 2024.
        1. +1
          8 September 2020 21: 52
          It's like that. Only the comment was written 3 years ago. There were still hopes then. Yes, and with this answer I was late.
  3. +2
    18 July 2017 12: 45
    Well, at least the color of the soil in the lunar photographs is real, and not pale gray as in American ...
    1. +3
      18 July 2017 16: 57
      Nope, exactly the same as the United States.
      1. +2
        20 July 2017 04: 39
        it became gray when the color balance was shifted toward blue.
        With the right white balance, the color of the soil is brown.
        This is one of the main crooks
        1. 0
          20 July 2017 08: 22
          Only here in China, he is exactly the same color, also crooks? And in the USSR it was the same color. All the crooks, one conspiracy theorists, each of whom draws his own paintings on white horses, which are contrary to other cosyrology.
          1. +3
            20 July 2017 13: 41
            in China it is brown, in the USSR it was also brown .. even the moon globe was brown in the USSR ..
            And in Russia yes - naturally gray - compradors will draw anything at the direction of Mr.
  4. +2
    18 July 2017 18: 35
    Well done. The progress of mankind does not stand still, despite the fact that this has been done before. Here the Chinese will try. Such breakthroughs cost a lot of public and private money, which in itself slows down development. Yes, and there is almost no return (the truth is, this is the development of the industry and the work of its specialists)
    Prestige. System excellence .. The USSR and the USA spent millions and made jerks. Benefit the progress of all mankind.
    1. 0
      25 July 2017 06: 37
      Quote: Catherine II
      The progress of humanity does not stand still,

      What kind of "progress" is there? They steal and buy technology all over the world, which is more than 50 years old. They do not create anything new.
      1. 0
        9 February 2018 06: 53
        Even so, they steal and buy ...
        But DO and USE !!!!
        And they don’t engage in loud rhetoric about trampolines, exploring Kami's seabed ...
        Musk went to the asteroid belt at least on Tesla, and we hear about the non-payment of salaries to the builders of the East, cello, ducks ... and a lot of things ... obscene ...
  5. +3
    18 July 2017 20: 07
    Quote: Choi
    Not so bad. The Chinese are essentially not inventing anything new. They only move along the path laid by the USSR and the USA ..

    But is there a need to invent something new? Meaning? The Chinese follow their program, resolving issues in stages

    Quote: Choi
    China is only going to build its station. And only by the results of its operation, it will become clear whether they have enough technology and knowledge for the independent development of the program ..

    They have already built their mini-station in principle. With Tiangong modules. Moreover, the first module has already worked in orbit for 5 years. Now their cargo ship Tianzhou is docked to him. 13 ton with 6 ton load.
    In 2019, they are already planning to put into orbit the base unit of their Tianhe station, which in its characteristics is close to the World. And get it out. And they have enough technology and knowledge

    Quote: Choi
    I think it’s not worth saying that the entire space program of China is a legacy of the USSR ..

    I think it's worth talking about it. we still firmly believe that their entire missile and, as a consequence, space program is a direct legacy of Soviet rocket and space. We just forget that the last missile that was built with the help of the Soviet Union is the R-5 missile. The desire to get from us a more modern at that time R-12 stumbled upon the Soviet Union’s unwillingness to share secrets. And as a result, all or almost all of them do it themselves. They may object to me that they have much in common with ours, for example, the descent vehicle of their ship. Looks like it. They made it on the model and likeness of ours, but we were unlikely to have anything to do with the creation of this ship.

    Quote: Choi
    When the backlog ends, will they have the strength to continue their development further? The example of aircraft engines shows that not everything is so smooth in their kingdom ..

    And on the example of shipbuilding, what is visible? They simply did not have a hurt on the Soviet. They did everything themselves. Their rocket, which delivers astronauts into orbit, is their own development. And nothing, this model flew so much that they were about to replace it with a more advanced one. And we continue to use the backlog of the USSR - the royal R-7
  6. 0
    18 July 2017 22: 01
    In principle, everything is real, and they will do everything. Besides manned flights, of course, there is no way to solve the problem with radiation yet, but I think the Chinese will be the first to solve this problem (at least for the Moon).
    Well, according to the current program, the main thing is to work out the reliability of the launch vehicle. So far, the second launch of Changzheng-5 has been unsuccessful.
    1. 0
      19 July 2017 22: 44
      Radiation is not a problem at all. Read the lunar program of the USSR, flying around the Moon turtles for example. Healthy turtles returned without problems.
      1. +2
        20 July 2017 01: 41
        Quote: BlackMokona
        Radiation is not a problem at all.

        Of course not a problem ..

        However, the Moon is not Mars, if you are very lucky you can return alive. Only you will not live long. But so far no one has been found willing to experiment.
        Quote: BlackMokona
        flying around the moon turtles for example. Healthy turtles returned without problems.

        Thank you, I am in the know. There was also a Drosophila, why don’t you put it as an example as well?
        The tortoise is not a man, they did not walk on the moon in a spacesuit, and their further fate is unknown. By the way, they were checked primarily for overloads.
        Quote: BlackMokona
        Read the lunar program of the USSR

        Which ended with the realization of the complete technical impossibility of flying to the Moon. If there was even the slightest chance, then Soviet ideologists who risked and did not take into account the victims would send a crew.
        Alas, for 40 years the situation has not improved much. However, I hope that in 20 years the Chinese will be able to try to really fly. Although they, to their credit, speak about manned flights very carefully and in the very future.
        1. 0
          20 July 2017 08: 09
          It was not canceled due to technical impossibility; this is described in detail in the literature. And yet they immediately began to saw the expedition to Mars, it was a pity they didn’t have time.
          1. 0
            20 July 2017 22: 53
            Quote: BlackMokona
            It was not canceled due to technical impossibility; this is described in detail in the literature.

            With 4 out of 4 failed launches of the N-1? You are joking ? Although, in principle, depending on what is called “technical impossibility”, if the chances of success are 1%, then everything was possible. But in practice, after the leadership accepted the version of the Americans on the Moon (it doesn’t matter out of ignorance or for political reasons), to spend money and then launching a ship with scanty chances of success was just plain stupid. They would have got corpses in the background against the backdrop of jumping Americans like bunnies. And it was impossible to hide it. It would have been possible to still go the American way and make a movie, but such an option only rolled from the USA with Soviet mugs, it was impossible to agree with the Americans on this matter.
            So they closed the program precisely because of too big technical risks, with big expenses and lack of political benefits. Moreover, radiation at that time was regarded as not the biggest obstacle.
            Quote: BlackMokona
            And yet they immediately began to saw the expedition to Mars, it was a pity they didn’t have time.

            In the future, yes, but it was far from practical implementation. What is needed in order to really fly to Mars?
            1) NRE
            2) Protection against radiation.
            According to the first point, the USSR had great successes, probably if it were not for perestroika and the subsequent events of the NRE we would have already had. The second is more difficult, but perhaps by now, they would have come up with something .. But what to say about this ...
            By the way, the Americans could well now try to get ahead of the PRC and really implement the Lunar program, not the fact that it would have worked out, but there are chances. But alas, they can’t do it at all, because real implementation of such a program will lead to the first natural difficulties, accidents, and .td and, accordingly, the myth of hassle-free flights 50 years ago will collapse. Therefore, they are forced to pretend to be clowns and amuse the venerable audience talking about flying to Mars on chemical missiles.
            As for China, now the main goal is to bring Changzheng-5, then the development is even more
            powerful Changzheng-9. Well, then we'll see what they get.
        2. 0
          9 February 2018 07: 32
          I propose declaring GDP as Nostradamus ...
          Well, how could he even then know that I.Mask’s car would fly to Mars ?!
  7. +1
    20 July 2017 12: 29
    Well done! They go the Stalinist way - planning, calculation and implementation. Not our sloths.
  8. 0
    21 December 2017 11: 48
    someone can clearly say: why did this moon surrender? Nakuya fly there? When there is practical benefit, then it is necessary, but there was only a propaganda incentive, and then 50 years ago! Everything is already done before us! Americans walked and traveled along the moon and brought stones, and the USSR did everything too, but automatically and with those modest technologies. Ketaytsy need this purely to enter the club of visitors to the moon and raise their prestige among their first people. Well, let yourself train! Russia does not need this! Moreover, they don’t know how to fly into orbit