The Chang-e 5 mission probe is the third Chinese to land on the moon.
6 Dec 2020 at 17:28 TASR
BEIJING. Following the landing of an unmanned spacecraft on the moon, China on Sunday managed to implement the first robot-controlled connection of the return module with a spacecraft in orbit.
DPA informed about it.
The return module for the Chang-e 5 mission, which was launched from the Moon’s surface on Thursday, successfully connected to the mother ship on Sunday morning in Beijing time, reported the state news agency Sinchua. Approximately two kilograms of samples of moonstones intended for transport to Earth were then safely stored in a return capsule.
This maneuver was considered one of the most difficult before flying back to Earth. China and its spacecraft have already made several approaches and connections in Earth’s orbit, but not 380,000 kilometers away.
After the landing of American missions with crews in the 60s and 70s, it is the first time that a connecting maneuver succeeds in the Moon’s orbit, even without astronauts, writes DPA.
The spacecraft was disconnected from the return module again after the samples were transferred. On Sunday, she continued to orbit the moon, waiting for the right moment for the return flight to begin. A landing on Earth is expected in mid-December in Inner Mongolia.
The Chang-e 5 mission probe is the third Chinese to land on the moon and the first to return to Earth. In addition, China sent a spacecraft with a robotic vehicle to Mars in July this year, the AP bureau recalls.
The goal of the unmanned mission Chang-e 5, named after the ancient Chinese goddess of the moon, is to bring samples of rocks from the lunar surface for the first time in more than 40 years. So far, only the United States has succeeded, and most recently in 1976, the former Soviet Union.
Scientists hope that these samples will provide new information about volcanic activity on the moon.
Experts also believe that the Chang-e 5 mission is an important technical test, for example for future manned flights to the moon.