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Chinese Lunar Missions

Chinese Lunar MissionsThe Chinese Lunar Exploration Program (CLEP; Chinese: 中国探月; pinyin: Zhōngguó Tànyuè), also known as the Chang’e Project (Chinese: 嫦娥工程; pinyin: Cháng’é Gōngchéng) after the Chinese moon goddess Chang’e, is an ongoing series of robotic Moon missions by the China National Space Administration (CNSA). The program incorporates lunar orbiters, landers, rovers and sample return spacecraft, launched using Long March rockets. Launches and flights are monitored by a telemetry, tracking, and command (TT&C) system, which uses 50-meter (160-foot) radio antennas in Beijing and 40-meter (130-foot) antennas in Kunming, Shanghai, and Ürümqi to form a 3,000-kilometer (1,900-mile) VLBI antenna.A proprietary ground application system is responsible for downlink data reception.

The first spacecraft of the program, the Chang’e 1 lunar orbiter, was launched from Xichang Satellite Launch Center on 24 October 2007, having been delayed from the initial planned date of 17–19 April 2007. A second orbiter, Chang’e 2, was launched on 1 October 2010. Chang’e 3, which includes a lander and rover, was launched on 1 December 2013 and successfully soft-landed on the Moon on 14 December 2013. Chang’e 4, which includes a lander and rover, was launched on 7 December 2018 and landed on 3 January 2019 on the South Pole-Aitken Basin, on the far side of the Moon. A sample return mission, Chang’e 5, launched on 23 November 2020.

Mission Chronology

Chang’e 1 – 2007 – Lunar Orbiter
Chang’e 2 – 2010 – Lunar Orbiter
Chang’e 3 – 2013 – Lunar Lander
Yutu – 2013 – Lunar Rover
Chang’e 5-T1 – 2014 – Test Vehicle
Queqiao – 2018 – Communications Relay Satellite
Chang’e 4 – 2018 – Lunar Farside Lander and Rover
Chang’e 5 – 2020 – Lunar Lander and Sample Return

Video on Lunar Sample Return from Change-5

Video on Landing on the Far Side of the Moon by Change-4