Lunar mission due by year's end
Chang'e 5, the next mission in China's lunar exploration program, will demonstrate and test the country's technological and engineering capabilities in space, according to a key figure in the project.
Yu Dengyun, deputy chief designer of China's lunar exploration program, said on Sunday that Chang'e 5 will be launched by a Long March 5 heavy-lift carrier rocket at the Wenchang Space Launch Center in South China’s Hainan province by the end of 2020.
China's current lunar program involves three phases: Orbiting, landing, and return. The first two phases have been completed successfully, Yu said.
The Chang'e-5 probe is expected to realize lunar sample collection, takeoff from the moon, rendezvous and docking in lunar orbit and high-speed reentry into the Earth's atmosphere, marking breakthroughs in China's aerospace history, Yu said.
According to Yu, China is conducting a further verification study for the research and development of a space station and manned lunar mission, and it plans to set up an unmanned lunar research station for manned landings on the moon.