Taking the heat as it maneuvers ever-deeper into Earth’s atmosphere before parachute touchdown.
Image credit: CNSA/CCTV

China’s Chang’e-6 far side sampling mission is near departure time as it circles the Moon awaiting the proper Moon-to-Earth alignment.

Launched on May 3, the mission’s sample toting returner/capsule hardware is projected to parachute to Earth on June 25, wrapping up a 53-day undertaking. Touchdown of the lunar collectibles is scheduled for a landing area within Siziwang Banner in north China’s Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region.

Chang’e-6 is a multi-tasking spacecraft: an orbiter, a lander, an ascender and a returner, similar in scope as its near-side sampling predecessor Chang’e-5.

Image courtesy U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) in its “2022 Challenges to Security in Space” report.

Lunar research station

Meanwhile, Russian President Vladimir Putin approved a plan last week to jointly build with China the International Lunar Research Station, or ILRS.

While specifics are sparse, a two-phase ILRS blueprint appears to consist of sections on the lunar surface, sections in lunar orbit and sections on Earth.

The initial phase involves a basic station built by 2035 in the lunar south pole region. A second phase expands the ILRS, with its completion reportedly to be done by 2045.

Image credit: CCTV/Inside Outer Space screengrab

Powerhouse rocket

China’s intention to plant boots on the Moon is picking up speed.

Work is underway to shape various elements of China’s human program for lunar exploration, including its Long March-10 powerhouse rocket.

Shades of SpaceX. China Long March-10 stage heads for ocean landing in this artwork.
Image credit: CCTV/Inside Outer Space screengrab

Image credit: CCTV/Inside Outer Space screengrab

“The development of new-generation manned rockets can greatly enhance our country’s ability to enter space and help the Chinese land on the Moon,” Xu Hongping, an engineer with the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC) in Beijing recently told China Central Television (CCTV).

China’s piloted lunar mission rocket is touted as featuring reusable engines and think-for-itself intelligent flight attributes.

Image credit: CCTV/Inside Outer Space screengrab

Xu added that some of the Moon rocket’s technological breakthroughs can drive the development of the country’s aerospace industry, “and will be a considerable boost to the country’s advanced manufacturing sector.”






For informative videos on China’s Long March-10 development, go to:



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