Chang’e-5 and Chang’e-6 missions are intended to return lunar samples back to Earth.
Credit: CCTV/Screengrab/Inside Outer Space

The China National Space Administration (CNSA) has invited international partners for cooperation on the country’s Chang’e-6 lunar mission and an asteroid exploration effort.

China announced its cooperation plan for the future Chang’e-6 mission, offering to carry a total of over 40 pounds (20 kilograms) of solicited payloads.

The orbiter and lander of the Chang’e-6 mission will each reserve 10 kilograms for payloads, to be selected from both domestic colleges, universities, private enterprises and foreign scientific research institutions, said Liu Jizhong, director of the China Lunar Exploration and Space Engineering Center of the CNSA.

Credit: CCTV/Screengrab Inside Outer Space

The deadline for applying to join the cooperation plan is Aug 31, 2019.

Asteroid sample return mission. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

According to China’s state-run Xinhua news agency, China’s asteroid project involves a decade-long sojourn to return samples from the near-Earth asteroid, known as 2016 HO3, as well as exploration of a main asteroid belt comet, known as Comet 133P/(7986) Elst–Pizarro.

Moon sampling

Next up for China’s lunar exploration activities is launch by year’s end of the Chang’e-5 sample return mission. However, that venture will be governed by a successful return to flight of the Long March-5 booster this July.

Long March-5 booster’s first liftoff occurred in early November 2016. Mishap on launcher’s second flight in July 2017. A return-to-flight Long March-5 mission is slated for this year.
Credit: CASC

As the backup of the Chang’e-5 mission, the Chang’e-6 mission will also collect lunar samples automatically for comprehensive analysis and research, Liu said. Its launch time and landing site will depend on the performance of the Chang’e-5 mission, he explained.

According to Liu, like Chang’e-5, the Chang’e-6 return sample lunar mission will be comprised of an orbiter, a lander, an ascender and an Earth-return capsule.

Chang’e-4 farside mission – lander and Yutu-2 rover

Farside science data

Meanwhile, the scientific data from international payloads onboard the Chang’e-4 farside mission has been delivered to the Netherlands, Sweden and Germany.

The Dutch radio instrument the Netherlands-China Low-Frequency Explorer (NCLE) on the Chinese Queqiao satellite behind the Moon, has successfully collected data.
The DVD with the data is handed over to Taake Manning, counsel for science and technology of the Dutch Embassy in Beijing.
Courtesy: Radboud Radio Lab/Radboud University

The Chang’e-4 farside mission carries four payloads developed by the Netherlands, Germany, Sweden and Saudi Arabia.

The CNSA delivered the data collected by the neutral atom detector aboard the Chang’e-4 rover to Sweden, the data from the neutron radiation detector aboard the Chang’e-4 lander to Germany and the data from the low-frequency radio astronomical instrument aboard the Chang’e-4 relay satellite Queqiao to the Netherlands.

Letters of intent

Pei Zhaoyu, deputy director of Lunar Exploration and Space Engineering Center of CNSA, said China has signed memorandums in space exploration cooperation with dozens of countries so far.

“China has already signed letters of intent for cooperation with dozens of countries. We have signed a memorandum of understanding with Russia on lunar and deep space exploration and an agreement with France this year on the Chang’e-6 carrier cooperation,” Pei said.







Go to this CGTN video that details China’s cooperative space overture:

Also go to this CNSA/CCTV provided video:

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