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Chinese Mars rover completes landing attempt ahead of launch of 2020 – Spaceflight Now

A test model of China's first Mars rover, launched in mid-2020, performs a landing test on November 14 in a custom-built rig in northern China's Hebei province. Credit: Xinhua

China has conducted a hover and risk variance test on a model as the country's first Mars rover, while engineers prepared the real spacecraft for launch against the red planet in mid-2020.

The mission consists of an orbiter, lander and rover and aims to become the first Chinese spacecraft to reach Mars after lifting aboard a long March 5 rocket – the country's most powerful launch device – during a several-week window opening in July 2020.

The mission will be launched from the Wenchang Space Center on Hainan Island, China's latest space port.

China invited ambassadors and envoys from 19 countries, including the European Union, the African Union, France, Italy and Brazil, to visit a test rig in northern China's Hebei province on November 14 to see a ground test of the Mars lander. The demonstration tested the rover's ability to hover and independently avoid obstacles during descent under reduced gravity conditions, similar to those on Mars, according to China's space administration.

Billed by China as the public who unveiled the Mars mission, the event checked last week's lander design, the Chinese Space Agency said.

If it starts next summer, the mission will reach Mars in early 2021 and release the landing module to enter the Martian atmosphere. After landing, the rover will drive off a ramp to begin exploring the surface with a suite of scientific instruments.

The environs will be about Mars to provide communication relay support for the rover and conduct their own scientific measurements.

The orbiting module has high- and medium-resolution cameras, a radar instrument for examining the structure of the Martian sub-surface, a spectrometer for analyzing minerals in the Martian crust, and sensors to collect data on the interaction between the red planet's severe magnetosphere and solar wind.

Designed for three months of operation after arriving in Mars, Rover carries its own cameras and a radar to study underground layers during the mission's landing site, along with a spectrometer and a Mars weather station, according to the National Space Science Center at the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

The three-part spacecraft that China plans to send to Mars in 2020 can be seen here in the launch configuration. Credit: CASC

China started the development of the Mars mission in 2016.

It will be the country's second attempt to reach Mars with a robot probe, following the Yinghuo 1 orbit, which was stranded in the earth orbit after its launch as a piggyback payload on Russia's failed Phobos-Grunt mission.

China has landed two robot ships on the moon and plans to launch a third lunar landing next year to attempt the first lunar missions in more than 40 years.

Like the Mars mission, Chang & # 39; s 5-month re-commissioning mission will be launched on Long March 5, one of the most powerful rockets in the world and the heaviest in China's inventory of launch vehicles.

While the Mars runway and rover that will be launched next year will carry exclusively Chinese payloads, officials used the Nov. 14 test to ensure the country's cooperation with other countries on space projects.

According to a CNSA statement, China has signed more than 140 space cooperation agreements with 45 countries and international organizations.

Ocean-Satellite Ocean China and the China Seismo-Electromagnetic Satellite were launched by China last year in collaboration with scientists from France and Italy, respectively, to collect climate measurements and detect precursor signals that can help predict earthquakes. China has developed a series of Earth observation satellites in cooperation with Brazil, and Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden and Saudi Arabia contributed to China's lunar mission for Chang'e 4.

China has invited international proposals for small scientific instruments that can fly to the moon on the robot mission Chang & # 39; e 6 2023. Earlier this month, Chinese and French space officials signed an agreement to fly a French instrument on the mission Chang & # 39; e. to measure the transport of volatile substances, such as water molecules, in moon dust.

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