New lunar mission to test Chang'e-5 technology

Updated: 2014-10-22 16:56


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New lunar mission to test Chang'e-5 technology

The photo of the Yutu moon rover taken by the camera on the Chang'e-3 moon lander during the mutual-photograph process after the successful landing of the moon probe on the moon on Dec 15, 2013. [Photo/Xinhua}

BEIJING -- 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.

The mission will involve the spacecraft entering, exiting, and re-entering the Earth's atmosphere and landing on Earth, the source said.

During this process, the spacecraft's speed will be slowed down so it can land safely at a determined location, a key capability needed for Chang'e-5, which may return from the moon at a very high speed, according to the scientists' explanation.

The Chang'e-5 probe, expected to launch in 2017, will be tasked with landing on the moon, collecting samples and returning to Earth.

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