|Mission type||Surface sample return|
|Launch mass||3,780 kg (8,330 lb)|
|Start of mission|
|Launch date||Late November 2020|
|Rocket||Long March 5|
|End of mission|
|Landing site||Mons Rumker region of Oceanus Procellarum|
Chang'e 5 (Chinese: 嫦娥五号; pinyin: Cháng'é wǔhào) is a robotic Chinese lunar exploration mission consisting of a lander and a sample-return vehicle. It is scheduled for launch in late November 2020, after being postponed due to the failure of the second Long March 5 launch vehicle in 2017. Chang'e 5 will be China's first sample return mission, aiming to return at least 2 kilograms of lunar soil and rock samples back to the Earth. Like its predecessors, the spacecraft is named after the Chinese Moon goddess, Chang'e.
This will be the first lunar sample-return mission since Luna 24 in 1976 and – if successful – would make China the third country to return samples from the Moon after USA and USSR. It will launch from the Wenchang Satellite launch centre in Hainan.
The Chinese Lunar Exploration Program is designed to be conducted in four phases of incremental technological advancement: The first was simply reaching lunar orbit, a task completed by Chang'e 1 in 2007 and Chang'e 2 in 2010. The second is landing and roving on the Moon, as Chang'e 3 did in 2013 and Chang'e 4 in 2019 (launched in December 2018, landed on the far side of the Moon in January 2019). The third phase is collecting lunar samples from the near side and sending them to Earth, a task for the future Chang'e 5 and Chang'e 6 missions. The fourth phase consists of development of a robotic research station near the Moon's south pole. The program aims to facilitate a crewed lunar landing in the 2030s and possibly build an outpost near the lunar south pole.
The probe was previously planned for launch by a Long March 5 rocket at the Wenchang Satellite Launch Center on Hainan Island, but a failure of this vehicle in 2017 created uncertainty about its ability to carry Chang'e 5. The spacecraft is still planned to be launched with a Long March 5 rocket, and the planned landing zone is Mons Rümker in Oceanus Procellarum, located in the northwest region of the near side of the Moon. The location is a large, elevated volcanic mound 70 km in diameter that features a strong spectroscopic signature of basaltic lunar mare material.
The mission is reported to consist of four modules or elements: the lander would collect about 2 kg (4.4 lb) of samples from 2 metres (6.6 ft) below the surface and place them in an attached ascent vehicle that will be launched into lunar orbit. The ascent vehicle will make an automatic rendezvous and docking with an orbiter that would transfer the samples into a sample-return capsule for their delivery to Earth.
Chang'e 5-T1 is an experimental robotic lunar mission that was launched on 23 October 2014 to conduct atmospheric re-entry tests on the capsule design planned to be used in the Chang'e 5 mission. Its service module, called DFH-3A, remained in orbit around the Earth before being relocated via Earth-Moon L2 to lunar orbit by 13 January 2015, where it is using its remaining 800 kg of fuel to test maneuvers key to future lunar missions.
The lander will carry landing cameras, a panoramic camera, a spectrometer to determine mineral composition, a soil gas analytical instrument, a soil composition analytical instrument, a sampling sectional thermo-detector, and a ground-penetrating radar. For acquiring samples, it will be equipped with a robotic arm, a rotary-percussive drill, a scoop for sampling, and separation tubes to isolate individual samples.