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Chang'e 5



Chang'e 5 is a Chinese National Space Administration (CNSA) lunar sample return mission that launched on 23 Novemberat approximately 20:30:12 UT (3:30 p.m. EST; 24 November 4:30 a.m. Beijing Time). Lift was from Wenchang Space Launch Center on Hainan Island, China, on a Long March 5. The mission goal is to land in the Mons Rumker region of Oceanus Procellarum (roughly 41-45 deg. N, 49-69 deg. W), operate for one lunar day (two weeks) and return a 2 to 4 kg sample of lunar regolith, possibly from as deep as 2 meters. The sample will be returned to Earth in the return capsule using an atmospheric "skip" reentry and landing in the Siziwang Banner grassland of the autonomous region of Inner Mongolia in China.

The mission consists of four modules which will go into lunar orbit. The descender, comprising two of the modules will separate from the orbiter, comprising the other two modules, and land on the Moon. One module, the lander, is equipped to collect samples and transfer them to the second module, the ascent vehicle, designed to launch from the lunar surface into orbit, where it will dock with the third module, the service capsule. Finally the samples will be transferred to the return capsule, the fourth module, which will leave lunar orbit and bring the samples to Earth. The spacecraft has a total mass of approximately 8200 kg. Power is provided by solar panels. Chang'e 5 carries a robotic arm with a sampling scoop, a coring drill, and a sample chamber that can return up to 4 kg of regolith. It also has a Panoramic Camera (PCAM), Lunar Regolith Penetrating Radar (LRPR), and a visible and near-infrared Lunar Mineralogical Spectrometer (LMS).

The Chang'e 5-T1, launched in 2014, was a test flight to validate the atmospheric re-entry design of the sample return capsule.

Image credit: CNSA/CLEP

Alternate Names

    Facts in Brief

    Launch Date: 2020-11-23
    Launch Vehicle: Long March 5
    Launch Site: Wenchang, Peoples Republic of China
    Mass: 8200 kg

    Funding Agency

    • China National Space Administration (Peoples Republic of China)


    • Planetary Science

    Additional Information

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



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