Chang'e 6

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Chang'e 6
Mission typeSurface sample return
OperatorCNSA
Spacecraft properties
ManufacturerCAST
Launch mass8,200 kg (18,100 lb)[1]
Start of mission
Launch date2024[2][3]
RocketChang Zheng 5
Launch siteWenchang
Moon lander
 

Chang'e 6 (Chinese: 嫦娥六号; pinyin: Cháng'é liùhào) is a planned robotic Chinese lunar exploration mission that is expected to launch in 2024 and perform China's second sample return mission.[2] Like its predecessors, the spacecraft is named after the Chinese moon goddess Chang'e.

Overview[edit]

The Chinese Lunar Exploration Program is designed to be conducted in four[4] phases of incremental technological advancement: The first is reaching lunar orbit, completed by Chang'e 1 in 2007 and Chang'e 2 in 2010. The second is landing and roving on the Moon, as Chang'e 3 did in 2013 and Chang'e 4 did in 2019. The third is collecting lunar samples from the near-side and sending them to Earth, completed by Chang'e 5 in 2020 and planned for the Chang'e 6 mission. The fourth phase consists of development of a robotic research station near the Moon's south pole.[4][5][6] The program aims to facilitate a crewed lunar landing in the 2030s and possibly build an outpost near the lunar south pole.[7]

Mission architecture[edit]

Chang'e 6 was built as a copy and backup of Chang'e 5.[8] The mission is reported to consist of four modules: the lander will collect about 2 kg (4.4 lb) of samples from 2 metres (6.6 ft) below the surface[9] and place them in an attached ascent vehicle to be launched into lunar orbit. The ascent vehicle will then make an automatic rendezvous and dock with an orbiter that will transfer the samples into a sample-return capsule for their delivery to Earth.[10][11] The estimated launch mass is 8,200 kg (18,100 lb)—the lander is projected to be 3,200 kg (7,100 lb) and the ascent vehicle is about 700 kg (1,500 lb).[1][10][12]

After the success of Chang'e 5, Chang'e 6 will be repurposed for a landing at the lunar south pole or South Pole–Aitken basin. The mission will involve contributions from CNES of France.[13]

Science payloads[edit]

In October 2018, Chinese officials announced that they will call for international partners to propose an additional payload up to 10 kg (22 lb) to be included in this mission.[14] The spacecraft will carry a French instrument called DORN (Detection of Outgassing Radon) to study the transport of lunar dust and other volatiles between the lunar regolith and the lunar exosphere, including the water cycle.[15]

Launch[edit]

The probe will be launched by a Long March 5 rocket in 2024, from Wenchang Satellite Launch Center on Hainan Island.[2][3]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Chang'e 5 and Chang'e 6. Gunter Dirk Krebs, Gunter's Space Page. Accessed on 9 January 2019.
  2. ^ a b c Jones, Andrew (8 July 2021). "China's Chang'e 6 mission will collect lunar samples from the far side of the moon by 2024". Space.com. Retrieved 9 July 2021.
  3. ^ a b "嫦娥六号任务预计2024年前后实施 或将继续月背征途" [The Chang'e-6 mission is expected to be implemented around 2024, will continue the journey to the far side of the moon]. Xinhua (in Chinese). 25 April 2021. Retrieved 9 July 2021.
  4. ^ a b Chang'e 4 press conference. CNSA, broadcast on 14 January 2019.
  5. ^ China's Planning for Deep Space Exploration and Lunar Exploration before 2030. (PDF) XU Lin, ZOU Yongliao, JIA Yingzhuo. Space Sci., 2018, 38(5): 591–592. doi:10.11728/cjss2018.05.591
  6. ^ A Tentative Plan of China to Establish a Lunar Research Station in the Next Ten Years. Zou, Yongliao; Xu, Lin; Jia, Yingzhuo. 42nd COSPAR Scientific Assembly. Held 14–22 July 2018, in Pasadena, California, USA, Abstract id. B3.1-34-18.
  7. ^ China lays out its ambitions to colonize the moon and build a "lunar palace". Echo Huang, Quartz. 26 April 2018.
  8. ^ "Apollo 13 Crew". Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum. Retrieved January 6, 2018.
  9. ^ Andrew Jones (7 June 2017). "China confirms landing site for Chang'e-5 Moon sample return". GB Times. Archived from the original on 28 March 2019. Retrieved 17 December 2017.
  10. ^ a b Future Chinese Lunar Missions. David R. Williams, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. Accessed on 30 November 2018.
  11. ^ "Chang'e 5 test mission". Spaceflight101.com. 2017. Retrieved 17 December 2017.
  12. ^ China well prepared to launch Chang e-5 lunar probe in 2017: top scientist. China Academy of Space Technology (CAST). 25 October 2016.
  13. ^ "China recovers Chang'e-5 moon samples after complex 23-day mission". SpaceNews. 2020-12-16. Retrieved 2020-12-16.
  14. ^ China invites international cooperation in Chang'e-6 Moon sample return mission. Andrew Jones, "GB Times". 1 October 2018.
  15. ^ "State visit of President Macron to China - In 2023, Chang'e 6 will deploy the French DORN instrument on the Moon to study the lunar exosphere". CNES. 6 November 2019. Retrieved 7 November 2019.

External links[edit]