- Chang'e 3
Chang'e 3 Operator CNSA Mission type Lander and one rover Satellite of Moon Launch date 2013 (planned) Launch vehicle Long March 5 Mission duration Three months (rover) Mass 3,750 kilograms (8,300 lb) Power RTG
Chang'e 3 is a Chinese lunar exploration mission, incorporating a robotic lander and rover. Scheduled for launch in 2013 as part of the second phase of the Chinese Lunar Exploration Program, it will be China's first lunar rover, and the first spacecraft to make a soft landing on the Moon since the Luna 24 mission in 1976. It is named after Chang'e, the Chinese goddess of the Moon, and is a follow-up to the Chang'e 1 and Chang'e 2 lunar orbiters, which launched in 2007 and 2010 respectively.
The first Chinese lunar orbiter, Chang'e 1, was launched on 24 October 2007 from Xichang Satellite Launch Center and entered lunar orbit on 5 November. The spacecraft operated until 1 March 2009, when it was intentionally impacted the surface of the Moon. Data gathered by Chang'e 1 was used to create an accurate and high-resolution 3-D map of the entire lunar surface, assisting site selection for the Chang'e 3 lander. In 2009, Chang'e 3's launch date was announced as being 2013.
Chang'e 1's successor, Chang'e 2, was launched on 1 October 2010 to conduct research from a 100-km-high lunar orbit, in preparation for a soft landing by Chang'e 3. Chang'e 2, though similar in design to Chang'e 1, was equipped with improved instruments and provided high-resolution imagery of the lunar surface to assist in the planning of the Chang'e 3 mission.
Like its orbiting predecessors, the Chang'e 3 mission is planned as a precursor to further robotic lunar exploration missions, including a sample return mission planned for 2017. Following these automated missions, a manned landing may be conducted in 2025.
The Chang'e 3 mission will incorporate a lunar rover, designed to detach from the lander and explore the lunar surface independently. The development of the six-wheeled rover began in 2002 at the Shanghai Aerospace System Engineering Institute, where a specialized testing laboratory was outfitted to replicate the lunar surface. The assembly of the 1.5-meter-high, 120-kg (260-lb) rover was completed in May 2010. With a payload capacity of approximately 20 kilograms (44 lb), the rover is designed to transmit video in real time, and to dig and analyze soil samples. It can navigate inclines and has automatic sensors to prevent it from colliding with other objects. Energy will be provided by a radioisotope thermoelectric generator, allowing the rover to operate through lunar nights.
Data from the Chang'e orbiters was used to select a landing site for Chang'e 3. The lander is scheduled to land on the Sinus Iridum at a latitude of 44° north. The Sinus Iridum is a plain of basaltic lava that forms a northwestern extension to the Mare Imbrium.
- Chinese space program
- Chinese Lunar Exploration Program
- Exploration of the Moon
- Chang'e 1, China's first lunar orbiter, launched in 2007
- Chang'e 2, Chang'e 3's immediate predecessor, launched in 2010
- List of future lunar missions
- Robotic exploration of the Moon
- Yinghuo-1, a Chinese Mars-exploration satellite, planned for launch in 2011
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Lunar rovers Succeeded Proposed Bold italics indicates active missions Robotic exploration of the Moon Programs Orbiters Planned Proposed Flybys Impactors Landers Rovers S. Return Cancelled See also Bold italics indicates active missions Chinese spacecraft Earth observationFengyun · HaiYang · Tansuo-1 · SMMS Communication and
Data relay satellite systemTianlian-1 (Tianlian I-01)
In development: Tianlian-2
Positioning Astronomical observation Lunar and planetary
China National Space Administration (CNSA) Robotic programsPastCurrentIn developmentYinghuo-1 · Chang'e 3 Human spaceflight
Past missionsShuguang · Piloted FSW · Project 863 Spaceports PeopleScientistsAstronauts
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