Departing ascender imaged by the Chang’e-5 lander.
Credit: CNSA/CLEP

China’s Chang’e-5 ascender vehicle has blasted off from the Moon, successfully positioning its cargo of lunar samples for rendezvous, docking, and transfer to an awaiting orbiter/returner craft.

Ascender liftoff from lunar surface.
Credit: CCTV/Inside Outer Space screengrab

China Central Television (CCTV) reports at 23:10 on December 3 (Beijing time), the 3000 newton-thrust engine of the Chang’e-5 ascender worked for about 6 minutes and successfully hurled the ascender carrying the samples to the scheduled orbit around the Moon.

Credit: CGTN/Inside Outer Space screengrab

Credit: CGTN/Inside Outer Space screengrab

Credit: CGTN/Inside Outer Space screengrab

Ascender is to dock with awaiting orbiter circling the Moon.
Credit: CCTV/Inside Outer Space screengrabBecause there is no navigation constellation at the Moon, CCTV explains, after the ascender takes off, it needed to use its own special sensors to achieve autonomous positioning and attitude determination with the help of ground measurement and control.

Prior to liftoff of the ascender from the Moon, a Chinese flag was deployed from the lander.

Capsule return with Moon samples, landing at Siziwang Banner in north China’s Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region.
Credit: CCTV/Inside Outer Space screengrab

Moon-Earth transfer window

After takeoff, the ascender reportedly went through three stages of vertical ascent, attitude adjustment and orbit injection, and entered the scheduled orbit around the Moon. 

Subsequently, the ascender will rendezvous and dock with the orbital assembly waiting around the Moon and transfer the lunar sample to the returner, which will wait for a suitable Moon-Earth transfer window to prepare for its return to Earth.

According to one source, docking with the orbiter will happen on December 6, Beijing Time.

 

https://twitter.com/i/status/1334523926404362240

Leave a Reply