Three months ago China launched its first probe into the outer space for a test flight orbiting the moon, and a return flight to Earth. But more recently it has been revealed that Chinese scientists are planning a second trip in space, this time a more ambitious one.
The first spacecraft sent into space by the People’s Republic of China is a service module that is orbiting at a distance between 3,293 miles at its furthest from the Moon, and 125 miles at its closest. The service module is equipped with special gear and cameras developed by the scientists to spot and analyze possible landing surfaces for China’s next mission. The 2017 Chang’e 5 mission will constitute of a lunar landing for the purpose of exploration the surface of the Moon. Experts hope the mission will finalize in collecting rock samples from the moon and returning them to Earth for further inquiry.
Chinese mission controllers have informed that the unmanned spacecraft is planned to brake twice during its 2017 mission, somewhere around January 12 and 13. The two breaking operations are required for the craft to enter a much faster, 127-minute lunar orbit, Zhou Jianlian, chief engineer at the Aerospace Control Center in Beijing, has declared.
China is the third nation to successfully send a spacecraft to the Moon and returning it to Earth. In October of last year, the service module launched from China started its orbit around the Moon, and on November 1st, its capsule module successfully returned to Earth.
The other two nations that have invested in similar missions are the United States and the Soviet Union.
After the ejection of the capsule, the rocket traveled to the L2 position (Earth-Moon Lagrangian) and orbited like this three times, after which it resumed its flight around the Moon.
An official from China’s State Administration of Science, Technology, and Industry for National Defense stated in an interview at the Xinhua news agency that this is the first time that a Chinese spacecraft achieved an orbit in the L2 position. Zhao Wenbo stated that the service module reached the L2 point and completed three flights around that point.
Furthermore, experts have confirmed that the craft’s system and its mission are going according to plan.
Nowadays space travel seems to be the focus worldwide. As the US has planned the development of reusable rockets, China hopes to successfully land astronauts on the lunar surface sometime in the 2020s.
Image Source: University of Virginia