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Chang'e 3

NSSDCA/COSPAR ID: 2013-070A

Description

Chang'e 3 is a Chinese National Space Agency (CNSA) lunar landing mission designed to study the Moon from its stationary landing platform and with a rover. Chang'e 3 comprises a Lunar Landing Vehicle (LLV) with a total mass of 3700 - 3800 kg. The LLV consists of a soft lander and rover, designated Yutu (Jade Rabbit). The lander has a mass of 1200 kg and will carry four scientific instruments. The Yutu rover is about 1.5 meters tall and has a mass of 120 kg with a 20 kg payload consisting of four instruments.

Chang'e 3 launched aboard a Changzheng-3B (Long March 3B) rocket from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center on 1 December 2013 at 17:30 UT (2 December 1:30 a.m. BJST local time). The spacecraft was inserted into a 100 km circular parking orbit around the Moon on 6 December at 09:53 UT (5:53 p.m. Beijing time) after a 361-second braking maneuver. The LLV orbit was then lowered to a 15 x 100 km orbit. At periapse on 14 December, the LLV fired its thrusters and descended to 100 meters above the surface. It hovered at this altitude to move to a suitable landing site, then descended to 4 meters and cut off its engines to fall to the surface. Chang'e 3 landed at 44.1214 N, 19.5117 W in northern Mare Imbrium at 13:11 UT (21:11 BJST) on 14 December. The Yutu rover rolled onto the lunar surface on 14 December at 20:35 UT (15 December 04:35 a.m. BJST). The rover came to rest at the end of its mission at 44.1208 N, 19.5122 W. The lander was designed to operate for approximately one year on the lunar surface.

The lander is equipped with three panoramic cameras, a topography camera, an extreme ultraviolet camera, and an ultraviolet telescope. The Yutu rover was designed and built by the China Academy of Space Technology (CAST). It is a six-wheeled vehicle powered by solar cells. Mounted on top of the LLV, it was lowered on a ramp onto the lunar surface after landing. It has a maximum total range of 10 km and can explore an area of 3 square km over 90 Earth days. Instruments include a stereo camera, ground penetrating radar, visible/near-infrared imaging spectrometer, and alpha particle x-ray spectrometer. It also has navigation and hazard avoidance cameras and may have a lunar soil probe. Data will be transmitted back to Earth in real time.

Image credit CNSA, CCTV

Alternate Names

  • 39458
  • Change3
  • Chang'e 3 Lander

Facts in Brief

Launch Date: 2013-12-01
Launch Vehicle: Long March 3B
Launch Site: Xichang, Peoples Republic of China

Funding Agency

  • China National Space Administration (Peoples Republic of China)

Discipline

  • Planetary Science

Additional Information

Questions and comments about this spacecraft can be directed to: Dr. David R. Williams

 

Personnel

NameRoleOriginal AffiliationE-mail
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