Chang'e 6
Mission typeSurface sample return
OperatorCNSA
Spacecraft properties
ManufacturerCAST
Launch mass3,780 kg (8,330 lb)[1]
Start of mission
Launch date2024[2]
RocketChang Zheng 5
Launch siteWenchang
Moon lander
 

Chang'e 6 (Chinese: 嫦娥六号; pinyin: Cháng'é liùhào) is a planned robotic Chinese lunar exploration mission expected to be launched in 2024 and perform China's second sample return mission. Like its predecessors, the spacecraft is named after the Chinese moon goddess Chang'e.

Overview

The Chinese Lunar Exploration Program is designed to be conducted in three phases of incremental technological advancement: The first is 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. The third phase is collecting lunar samples from the near-side and sending them to the Earth, a task for the future Chang'e 5 and its backup Chang'e 6 mission.[3] The program aims to facilitate a crewed lunar landing in the 2030s and possibly build an outpost near the lunar south pole.[4]

Mission architecture

Chang'e 6 is a copy and backup of Chang'e 5.[3] The mission is reported to consist of four modules: the lander will collect about 2 kg (4.4 lb) of samples from 2 metres (6.6 ft) below the surface[5] and place them in an attached ascent vehicle to be launched into lunar orbit. The ascent vehicle will then make an automatic rendezvous and docking with an orbiter that will transfer the samples into a sample-return capsule for their delivery to Earth.[6][7] The estimated launch mass is 3,780 kg (8,330 lb), the lander is projected to be 1,200 kg (2,600 lb) and the ascent vehicle is about 120 kg (260 lb).[1] [6][8]

In October 2018, Chinese officials announced that they will call for international partners to propose an additional payload up to 10 kg (22 lb) to be included in this mission.[9]

Launch

The probe will be launched by a Long March 5 rocket in 2024 from the Wenchang Satellite Launch Center on Hainan Island.

References

  1. ^ a b Chang'e 5 and Chang'e 6. Gunter Dirk Krebs, Gunter's Space Page. Accessed on 9 January 2019.
  2. ^ [ https://twitter.com/LiuyiYiliu/status/1084396577404284928]
  3. ^ a b China developing mission to return samples from far side of the moon. Stephen Clark, Spaceflight Now. 29 September 2016.
  4. ^ China lays out its ambitions to colonize the moon and build a "lunar palace". Echo Huang, Quartz. 26 April 2018.
  5. ^ Andrew Jones (7 June 2017). "China confirms landing site for Chang'e-5 Moon sample return". GB Times. Retrieved 17 December 2017.
  6. ^ a b Future Chinese Lunar Missions. David R. Williams, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. Accessed on 30 November 2018.
  7. ^ "Chang'e 5 test mission". Spaceflight101.com. 2017. Retrieved 17 December 2017.
  8. ^ China well prepared to launch Chang e-5 lunar probe in 2017: top scientist. China Academy of Space Technology (CAST). 25 October 2016.
  9. ^ China invites international cooperation in Chang'e-6 Moon sample return mission. Andrew Jones, ""GB Times. 1 October 2018.

External links

  • China's Deep Space Exploration Roadmap. (2018)