Future Chinese Lunar Missions

The information available on these missions is limited and does not all come from official sources. The descriptions represent a somewhat speculative outline of the missions and will probably change as more information becomes available.

Chang'e 4 Lander and Rover
Chang'e 4 Lander and Rover on the Moon (Image: CNSA)

Chang'e 5 - Sample Return

Launch: Late 2020

Chang'e 5 is a Chinese National Space Administration (CNSA) lunar sample return mission has been rescheduled to launch in late 2020. The mission goal is to land in the Mons Rumker region of Oceanus Procellarum (roughly 41-45 deg. N, 49-69 deg. W), and return up to 2 kg of lunar regolith, possibly from as deep as 2 meters. The mission is reported to consist of four modules. Two of the modules will land on the Moon, one designed to collect samples and transfer them to the second module, designed to ascend from the lunar surface into orbit, where it will dock with a third module. Finally the samples will be transferred to the fourth module, also in lunar orbit, which will return them to Earth. The spacecraft carries a Panoramic Camera (PCAM), Lunar Regolith Penetrating Radar (LRPR), and the 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.

Chang'e 6 - Sample Return

Launch: 2023-2024

The Chang'e 6 mission is a planned lander designed to return samples from the lunar south pole. Whether it will land on the nearside or farside will depend to some extent on the success of the Chang'e 4 farside mission.

Chang'e 7 - Survey Mission

Launch: TBD

Chang'e 7 is planned to make detailed surveys of the south polar region of the Moon, covering the terrain, geological composition, locations of water ice, and space environment. One of the primary objectives will be to detect water ice in permanently shadowed areas and determine its origin.

Chang'e 8 - Technology Tests

Launch: TBD

Chang'e 8 is designed to test technologies necessary to the construction of a lunar science base. It will also conduct surveys and scientific experiments.

Past and Current Missions

Chang'e 1 - 2007 - Lunar Orbiter
Chang'e 2 - 2010 - Lunar Orbiter
Chang'e 3 - 2013 - Lunar Lander
Yutu - 2013 - Lunar Rover
Chang'e 5-T1 - 2014 - Test Vehicle
Queqiao - 2018 - Communications Relay Satellite
Chang'e 4 - 2018 - Lunar Farside Lander and Rover

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Dr. David R. Williams, dave.williams@nasa.gov
NSSDCA, Mail Code 690.1
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
Greenbelt, MD 20771

NASA Official: Dr. David R. Williams, david.r.williams@nasa.gov
Last Updated: 12 December 2019, DRW