Future Chinese Lunar Missions

The information available on these missions is somewhat 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 5 - Sample Return

Launch: 2017

Chang'e 5 is a Chinese National Space Administration (CNSA) lunar sample return mission scheduled to launch in 2017. The mission goal is to return a 2 kg sample 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 mission is slated to land in the northeastern Oceanus Procellarum region.

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 4 - Farside Lander

Launch: 2018

The Chang'e 4 mission is a planned Chinese National Space Administration (CNSA) lander to the far side of the Moon, scheduled for launch from Xichang, China, near the end of 2018. The Chang'e 4 lander was a backup to the Chang'e 3 mission, so it will have the same basic structure, but a different scientific payload is being planned. It will probably include a rover as Chang'e 3 did. Chang'e 3 had a lander mass of about 1200 kg and the rover mass was 140 kg. It will use a relay satellite, based on the Chang'e 2 design, in a halo orbit around the Earth-Moon L2 point to maintain communication between the lander and Earth ground control. The South Pole - Aitken Basin has been mentioned as a possible landing site.

Past 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

Lunar Exploration Timeline
Moon Home Page
Moon Fact Sheet

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: 27 January 2016, DRW