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Thread: China's moon exploration ambitions

  1. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by selvaarchi View Post
    This article seems to imply Chang'e 4 has been modified from a lander to orbiting the moon and returning to earth. Find that not quiet right but only time will tell.
    Chang'e is a combination of many things. Lander, orbiter, Lander payload.
    The article mentions Chang'e 4 as a generality and as an orbiter. So; it sounds like the emphasis is on those components.

    But; being that Chang'e 5 will be a landing mission with new hardware, they may as well tote along the lander component even if they don't land it. That way they can test systems integration.

    The change seems to be the payload the lander portion would be carrying. The sample return has to be tested, and that's a component carried by the lander.

  2. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by NEOWatcher View Post
    Chang'e is a combination of many things. Lander, orbiter, Lander payload.
    The article mentions Chang'e 4 as a generality and as an orbiter. So; it sounds like the emphasis is on those components.

    But; being that Chang'e 5 will be a landing mission with new hardware, they may as well tote along the lander component even if they don't land it. That way they can test systems integration.

    The change seems to be the payload the lander portion would be carrying. The sample return has to be tested, and that's a component carried by the lander.
    If they do that, I wonder if they will test the separation of the lander while in lunar orbit and then the docking before returning it to earth?

  3. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by selvaarchi View Post
    If they do that, I wonder if they will test the separation of the lander while in lunar orbit and then the docking before returning it to earth?
    It looks like they would have to.
    Here's an article with an illustration of the entire craft. The re-entry vehicle is between the lander and the orbiter, so the whole craft has to separate.
    And; the ascent vehicle is on top of the lander. So; it too, must separate and re-dock with the re-entry vehicle.

    I'm not too fond of that whole article though. It says that the Chinese have been open about their programs. They have been in a very general basis, but more detailed information only comes after a successful mission.

    And; like everyone else, they take the temporary lull in NASA's human lift capability as an opportunity to say that human spaceflight is stalled even though we keep sending astronauts to a space station. And yes, NASA is not racing anyone to the moon. While that goal is debatable, they have different BEO goals that others do not have.
    (But is right about it changing with each administration).

  4. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by NEOWatcher View Post
    And; like everyone else, they take the temporary lull in NASA's human lift capability as an opportunity to say that human spaceflight is stalled even though we keep sending astronauts to a space station. And yes, NASA is not racing anyone to the moon. While that goal is debatable, they have different BEO goals that others do not have.
    (But is right about it changing with each administration).
    I do not think you should blame that comment on the Chinese but on the author. The Chines have been consistent in saying they are not in a race with anyone and would welcome international cooperation on space projects.

  5. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by selvaarchi View Post
    I do not think you should blame that comment on the Chinese but on the author.
    I don't.
    I thought prefacing those remarks with "I'm not too fond of that whole article" was clear.

  6. #36
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    China is building a satellite tracking station in Argentine Patagonia to help with its lunar exploration.

    http://en.mercopress.com/2014/09/12/...tine-patagonia

  7. #37
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    We now have a date for the next lunar probe. Two weeks from today - 24/10/2014. I find it interesting that they call it "Chang'e 5 moon return test mission" and not - Chang'e 4 moon return test mission.

    https://www.facebook.com/ChinaSpace/...type=1&theater

    Chang'e 5 moon return test mission is scheduled for launch on 2014-10-24 from Xichang Satellite Launch Center on a Long March 3C rocket.

  8. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by selvaarchi View Post
    I find it interesting that they call it "Chang'e 5 moon return test mission" and not - Chang'e 4 moon return test mission.
    Chang'e 4 was a specific mission with it's own goals. This is a test for 5.
    They've been saying 4 was dropped to be used for 5 test ever since they announced it.

    Here's a bit more.
    It does answer the question I've had all along. It's only an orbiter, and only a test of the return capsule.

  9. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by NEOWatcher View Post
    Chang'e 4 was a specific mission with it's own goals. This is a test for 5.
    They've been saying 4 was dropped to be used for 5 test ever since they announced it.

    Here's a bit more.
    It does answer the question I've had all along. It's only an orbiter, and only a test of the return capsule.
    We will know in 10 days. The only official information I have been able to find is on their Facebook page. I find that a bit unusual. Normally the the Chinese papers will carry a report before it comes out on Facebook.
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  10. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by selvaarchi View Post
    We will know in 10 days.
    We will know what? What don't we know at this point other than the uncertainties of detailed information?
    There has been plenty of stuff out on the web for several months, including stories that were talking about an October launch.

  11. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by NEOWatcher View Post
    We will know what? What don't we know at this point other than the uncertainties of detailed information?
    There has been plenty of stuff out on the web for several months, including stories that were talking about an October launch.
    Is there going to be a Chang'e 4 and a Chang'e 5A mission or is it one and the same.
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  12. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by selvaarchi View Post
    Is there going to be a Chang'e 4 and a Chang'e 5A mission or is it one and the same.

    You started this thread with an article that says there is no longer Chang'e 4 mission.

    As the discussion progressed, we learned more details about Chang'e 5-T1 (this launch).

    The only thing that I see different than where the discussion has been going is that the components from 4 are not being used in 5, but being used as an actual test of components of 5 prior to its mission.

  13. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by NEOWatcher View Post

    You started this thread with an article that says there is no longer Chang'e 4 mission.

    As the discussion progressed, we learned more details about Chang'e 5-T1 (this launch).

    The only thing that I see different than where the discussion has been going is that the components from 4 are not being used in 5, but being used as an actual test of components of 5 prior to its mission.
    Looking for some confirmation that Chang'e 4 has been dropped and replaced by Chang'e 5A. Read something thing recently (but I can not now lay my hands on it) that still talked Chang'e 4.
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  14. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by selvaarchi View Post
    Looking for some confirmation that Chang'e 4 has been dropped and replaced by Chang'e 5A. Read something thing recently (but I can not now lay my hands on it) that still talked Chang'e 4.
    You mean the statement by China's State Administration of Science and Technology head in your OP article back in July isn't convincing enough?

  15. #45
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    Looks like the authors of most reports I have read still use Chang'e 4 (as in the report in the link below). The reference to Chang'e 5-T1 is only in China's Facebook post.

    An interesting bit of information in it, was China is taking all opportunities to do commercial work for other countries.
    Onboard China's moon-bound booster is a hitchhiking payload provided by the European space technology company OHB AG. This private "4M mission" to the moon is dedicated to OHB founder Manfred Fuchs, who died earlier this year. (4M stands for the Manfred Memorial Moon Mission.)
    http://www.space.com/27422-china-moo...h-october.html

    The upcoming launch of the Chang'e 4 mission is expected to take place Oct. 23 from China's Xichang Satellite Launch Center, and will apparently send an experimental, recoverable probe to lunar orbit and back. The goal is to validate re-entry technology for Chang'e 5, a future robotic mission that will land on the moon, collect samples and return those specimens to Earth.

  16. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by selvaarchi View Post
    Looks like the authors of most reports I have read still use Chang'e 4 (as in the report in the link below). The reference to Chang'e 5-T1 is only in China's Facebook post.
    Almost every link in this thread says there is no Chang'e 4 mission and the hardware is being used for Chang'e 5. I don't know where you get "most".

    I think what is making the confusion is that it is still Chang'4 hardware, but the mission parameters have changed to become a Chang'e 5 mission. So; in some way, it is both, depending on whether you are talking mission or hardware.

  17. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by NEOWatcher View Post
    Almost every link in this thread says there is no Chang'e 4 mission and the hardware is being used for Chang'e 5. I don't know where you get "most".

    I think what is making the confusion is that it is still Chang'4 hardware, but the mission parameters have changed to become a Chang'e 5 mission. So; in some way, it is both, depending on whether you are talking mission or hardware.
    With 4 days to go before launch of China's latest moon probe, a report that has a mention of the name change.

    http://www.chinatopix.com/articles/1...sc-xichang.htm

    Still to go is the tweener in the Chang'e series, the Chang'e 4. That mission will test technologies adapted from Chang'e 3 for the Chang'e 5 slated for a 2018 rendezvous with the Moon. Some reports say the Chang'e 4 may undergo a name change to the Chang 5 T1.

  18. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by selvaarchi View Post
    With 4 days to go before launch of China's latest moon probe, a report that has a mention of the name change.
    Some reports say the Chang'e 4 may undergo a name change to the Chang 5 T1.
    "some", just like "some" articles have been saying it all along like I mentioned.

    My point was that I want to know where you get "most" in post 45.

  19. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by NEOWatcher View Post
    "some", just like "some" articles have been saying it all along like I mentioned.

    My point was that I want to know where you get "most" in post 45.
    The only report I have read that says the next moon mission is Chang 5 T1 is on the China Facebook post. All others were either Chang'e 4 or in support of Chang'e 5 mission. Would like to know where you read differently?

    This article from spaceflight101.com says it better then I can.

    http://www.spaceflight101.com/change...n-updates.html

    Not a single image or diagram of the Chang’e 5 Test Vehicle has been released by the Chinese, nor has an official name for the mission been confirmed by its operator, the Chinese Lunar Exploration Program (CLEP). This created a fair amount of confusion in the media as numerous outlets began calling the mission Chang’e 4 – which would be next in line after Chang’e 3 but was identified as China’s second lunar lander/rover mission earlier on.
    Last edited by selvaarchi; 2014-Oct-20 at 01:41 PM.

  20. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by selvaarchi View Post
    The only report I have read that says the next moon mission is Chang 5 T1 is on the China Facebook post. All others were either Chang'e 4 or in support of Chang'e 5 mission. Would like to know where you read differently?
    I just went back to review links in this thread.
    I have not seen any that actually called the mission Chang'e 4. I have read that this is the Chang'e 4 hardware.
    All the references have been vague, and most have called them the test for 5.

    You were surprised at the Facebook post, and you still didn't seem to believe that.

  21. #51
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    1st official news I have read of the upcoming launch of the moon craft. Still no name mentioned of name other then "a new lunar mission".

    http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/sc..._133734632.htm

    China will launch a new lunar mission this week to test technology likely to be used in Chang'e-5, a future lunar probe with the ability to return to Earth.

    The experimental spacecraft launched this week is expected to reach a location near the moon and return to Earth, according to a source with the State Administration of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defense on Wednesday.

    The test model is currently in normal condition and is scheduled to launch between Friday and Sunday from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center.

  22. #52
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    Quote Originally Posted by selvaarchi View Post
    1st official news I have read of the upcoming launch of the moon craft. Still no name mentioned of name other then "a new lunar mission".
    Who is running that facebook page you keep referring to?

    I was under the impression that it was the space program's web page, thus being news "straight from the horses mouth" which implies "official".
    You reported their post 2 weeks ago stating an Oct 24th launch.

    This article shows nothing. It's an official news source, but they don't cite what their source of information is. It does look like a press release though.

  23. #53
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    Quote Originally Posted by NEOWatcher View Post
    Who is running that facebook page you keep referring to?

    I was under the impression that it was the space program's web page, thus being news "straight from the horses mouth" which implies "official".
    You reported their post 2 weeks ago stating an Oct 24th launch.

    This article shows nothing. It's an official news source, but they don't cite what their source of information is. It does look like a press release though.
    I agree with what you say about the Facebook page being run by their space agency. What puzzles me is why the government mouth piece like the Xinhua has not quoted a name for this mission. The latest Facebook page also says "Chang'e 5 test mission spacecraft".

    Still only two days to go and we might get more enlightenment.
    Last edited by selvaarchi; 2014-Oct-22 at 02:29 PM.

  24. #54
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    This mission has been a guessing game from the beginning. From what I have been able decipher, The probe will go from earth to the moon. Circle around the back of the moon and come back to earth. The re-entry will involve one or more "skips" off the Earth's atmosphere to slow the spacecraft before final re-entry. No other information has been published. The spacedaily calls it China's Secret Moon Mission. They also ran this article

    The launch will be either this Friday or Saturday.

    http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/sc..._133736775.htm

    China will launch an experimental spacecraft between Friday and Sunday to test a key technology designed to help a future lunar probe return to Earth with soil samples.

    The unnamed spacecraft is due to reach a location near the moon before returning to Earth, said a spokesman for the China National Space Administration, which announced the launch on Wednesday.

    It will be China's first lunar module to return to Earth, at a speed close to 11.2 km per second, space experts said.

  25. #55
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    Quote Originally Posted by selvaarchi View Post
    This mission has been a guessing game from the beginning.
    Yep; that's why I wait for actual information... at least from China.

    Quote Originally Posted by selvaarchi View Post
    From what I have been able decipher, The probe will go from earth to the moon. Circle around the back of the moon and come back to earth. The re-entry will involve one or more "skips" off the Earth's atmosphere to slow the spacecraft before final re-entry.
    From what you can decipher? Your previous link flat out said so (except the part about the back of the moon). Nothing to decipher.
    They said "near" the moon, not "around" the moon. Although with translation issues going around the moon does involve getting near it.


    Quote Originally Posted by selvaarchi View Post
    They also ran this article
    Their speculation on why the secret did not include the advantages of only leaking successes.
    Yes; loosing the publicity can be counter-productive for them. Especially in international cooperation. I completely agree with his assesment.

    But; I'm also looking at what else could be driving this secrecy.
    If they are secretly putting more into the mission that what we are told, then a partial failure can be publicized as a full success because we don't see those parts.

    It just gives me a general feeling of distrust in anything they are talking about, and make me think that vague references and misleading statements are meant to make you think of the success before-hand, but still leave the wording up to interpretation so they can say "no, it meant..."

  26. #56
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    China has successfully launched its probe to the moon. Tried to get more details and one of it pointed me to Emily Lakdawalla's blog. The blog also contains lots of links for more information and also a link to a 5 min video giving a preview of the mission. Warning - it is all in Mandarin but gives some nice shots of the rocket and the probe.

    http://www.planetary.org/blogs/emily...t-mission.html

    Some of you may be wondering what happened to Chang'e 4. Chang'e 3 is still operating on the Moon, but there has been no Chang'e 4 yet. Just as with the Chang'e 1 and Chang'e 2 orbiters, there were two lunar landers built in the runup to the Chang'e 3 launch, and the backup spacecraft remains on Earth and may yet be launched in the future as Chang'e 4. The spacecraft that is launching today is not a science mission -- it's an engineering test -- so it's not being numbered as part of the same sequence. It is called 嫦娥五号 试验器, Chang'e 5 Test Vehicle. Unfortunately, there has been some confusion about this in Western media, so you may see media reports about today's launch that name it as Chang'e 4.

  27. #57
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    Official news from the Chinese press of the launch.

    http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/ch..._127134592.htm

    The whole mission will take about eight days. Developed by China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation, the spacecraft will fly around the moon for half a circle and return to Earth.

    On its return, the test spacecraft will approach the terrestrial atmosphere at a velocity of nearly 11.2 kilometers per second and rebound to slow down before re-entering the atmosphere. It will land in north China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region.

    The mission is to obtain experimental data and validate re-entry technologies such as guidance, navigation and control, heat shield and trajectory design for a future touch-down on the moon by Chang'e-5, which is expected to be sent to the moon, collect samples and return to Earth in 2017.

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    Rereading all the information on the new launch and comments of the Chinese scientist, on how they are unhappy that they still do not know, what exactly crippled Jade rabbit, I suspect Chang'e-4 is not scraped but will be launched at some point in the future. It will have a lander and rover like Chang'e-3 but be modified to include some elements of Chang'e-5. Exactly what I really do not know. My guess will be to launch the sample return capsule from the moon's surface.

  29. #59
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    Quote Originally Posted by selvaarchi View Post
    Official news from the Chinese press of the launch.
    http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/ch..._127134592.htm
    It is the first time China has conducted a test involving a half-orbiter around the moon at a height of 380,000 kilometers before having the spacecraft return to Earth.
    I think this statement needs a little work.
    I don't know if the are indicating that the orbiter is only half the craft of the full mission, or if they are talking about the pass by of the moon on the free-return trajectory. (I think the latter)

    I don't think if a moon swing-by can be considered an orbit of the Earth since the moon's gravity becomes dominant.

    But; nits aside. Good for them.

  30. #60
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    Quote Originally Posted by selvaarchi View Post
    ... and also a link to a 5 min video giving a preview of the mission....
    I don't know if I can't see these twitter things, or if there is some regional blocking, but I can't see that.

    Interesting that there still is no official name. LuxSpace is holding on to the 5-t1 designation pretty solidly.

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