Beijing BEIJING, December 17 electric

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China's lunar exploration project "turns back" three steps to a successful conclusion

  Author Guo Chaokai Zhang Yu

  In the early morning of December 17, the Chang'e-5 returner carried a lunar sample back to Earth at a speed close to the second cosmic speed, and landed at the Siziwang Banner landing site in Inner Mongolia according to the scheduled plan.

This is another feat written by the Chinese in the 60-year history of mankind's lunar exploration. It marks a successful victory in the three-step final battle of the Chinese lunar exploration project of "circumnavigating, descending and returning".

11 flight stages, 23 days home journey

  The Chang'e-5 mission is one of the most complex and difficult missions in China's aerospace industry so far.

The Chang'e-5 probe was developed by the Fifth Academy of China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation. It is composed of an orbiter, a returner, a lander, and an ascender. It has 15 sub-systems and is responsible for China's first major mission of unmanned sampling and return of the moon.

  The Chang'e-5 probe has undergone launch into orbit, earth-moon transfer, near-moon braking, round-moon flight, landing and descent, lunar surface work, lunar surface ascent, rendezvous and docking and sample transfer, round-the-moon waiting, lunar-earth transfer, and Into the recovery 11 stages, which lasted 23 days.

  In less than one month, the Chang'e-5 probe has repeatedly refreshed the height of China's deep space exploration technology, and has also continuously achieved the first lunar surface sampling, lunar take-off, lunar orbital rendezvous, and sample return in the history of Chinese spaceflight. And many other major breakthroughs.

  Not only that, the unmanned rendezvous and docking and sample transfer of the lunar orbit completed by Chang'e 5 is the first in the world, adding a new record in the history of the world's lunar exploration.

Peng Jing, deputy chief designer of the Chang'e-5 probe system of the Fifth Academy of China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation, emphasized: “The lunar orbit has no unmanned rendezvous and docking, and the technical difficulty is very high. From the history of lunar exploration, only Apollo manned the moon in the lunar orbit. There has been a rendezvous and docking in Shanghai, but there has never been a rendezvous and docking this time."

Thousand-year dream of flying to the sky

  The myth of "Chang'e Flies to the Moon" is an imprint that Chinese people have buried in their hearts when they were children for thousands of years. Now this myth has become a fact of scientific exploration.

  As the final battle of China's lunar exploration project "circle, fall and return" trilogy, the development team of the Chang'e-5 probe has been with Chang'e-5 for ten years.

"From the establishment of the project in January 2011, it has been ten years now, not a lot of a month, not a lot of a month, according to our plan to return in December, a full ten years, not easy." Academician of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, China Aerospace Science and Technology Group Fifth Academy Ye Peijian, chief scientist of space science and deep space exploration, exclaimed.

  In January 2011, the State Council of China formally approved the establishment of the third phase of the lunar exploration project, and the development of the Chang'e-5 detector started.

In July 2020, the probe arrived at the launch site by air, and has been working on the launch site for nearly five months thereafter.

On November 24, 2020, the much-anticipated Chang'e-5 rocket soared into the sky, setting a new milestone in the history of China's spaceflight.

  In ten years, the research and development team worked day and night to ensure the maturity of various solutions and the best technologies.

"Only sampling all aspects of packaging, the entire test team has done nearly 500 tests, we can fully check the performance of the product, and we can be fully assured." Chief Commander of Chang'e 5 Probe, China Aerospace Science and Technology Group Fifth Academy Assistant Shi Wei introduced.

  In the past ten years, the Chang'e-5 probe development team has overcome many technical problems in orbit design, lunar surface sampling and packaging, lunar surface take-off and rise, lunar orbital rendezvous and docking and sample transfer, and high-speed reentry and return of the earth’s atmosphere to ensure Chang'e On the 5th, various tasks were successfully completed within 23 days.

The starry sky is vast, and the exploration is endless

  Looking back on the past, China's blueprint for exploring the moon has been planned for a long-term and precise implementation. It will travel steadily and farther up on the track where there are strong moon exploration players.

  On October 24, 2007, the Chang'e-1 satellite was successfully launched, taking the first step in China's deep space exploration.

On October 1, 2010, the Chang'e-2 probe was successfully launched. As the pilot star of the second phase of the lunar exploration project, she undertook the mission of verifying technology and deepening the scientific exploration of the moon.

  In 2013, the Chang'e-3 probe successfully landed on the moon, achieving the first soft landing of a Chinese spacecraft on an extraterrestrial body.

On November 1, 2014, the reentry and return flight tester of the third phase of the lunar exploration as a "pathfinder" completed the return verification mission of a spacecraft outside the earth's orbit to reenter the atmosphere.

On January 3, 2019, the Chang'e-4 probe successfully set foot on the back of the moon with the help of the relay star "Magpie Bridge", and launched the first human exploration and excavation of this "virgin land".

  Academician Ye Peijian once said, “Since we want to explore the moon, we cannot follow the same path as foreigners. Only with a high starting point and a large span can we catch up.” Today, Chang'e 5 has successfully completed its mission and carried lunar samples smoothly. Return to Earth, the perfect ending for the lunar exploration project "wandering, falling, and returning".

The starry sky is vast, the exploration is endless, and the pace of China's lunar exploration never stops.