Thu, 28 Jan 2021

China's Chang'e-5 spacecraft successfully lands on the near side of the moon, Dec. 1, 2020. (Xinhua)

BEIJING, Dec. 1 (Xinhua) -- China's Chang'e-5 spacecraft successfully landed on the near side of the moon late Tuesday and sent back images, the China National Space Administration (CNSA) announced.

At 11:11 p.m., the spacecraft landed at the preselected landing area near 51.8 degrees west longitude and 43.1 degrees north latitude, said the CNSA.

On Nov. 24, China launched the Chang'e-5 spacecraft, comprising an orbiter, a lander, an ascender and a returner.

At 10:57 p.m. Tuesday, the lander-ascender combination of Chang'e-5, from about 15 km above the lunar surface, started a powered descent with a variable thrust engine ignited. Its relative vertical velocity to the moon was lowered from 1.7 km per second to zero.

The probe was adjusted and approached the lunar surface during the descent.

After automatically detecting and identifying obstacles, the probe selected the site and touched down on the north of the Mons Rumker in Oceanus Procellarum, also known as the Ocean of Storms, on the near side of the moon.

An image taken by the camera aboard the lander of Chang'e-5 spacecraft. (Provided by the CNSA)

During the landing process, the cameras aboard the lander took images of the landing area, said the CNSA.

Under ground-control, the lander carried out a series of status checks and settings, preparing for around 48 hours of work on the surface of the moon.

About 2 kg of samples is expected to be collected and sealed in a container. Then the ascender will take off and dock with the orbiter-returner combination in orbit. After the samples are transferred to the returner, the ascender will separate from the orbiter-returner.

The orbiter is expected to carry the returner back to Earth. The returner is scheduled to reenter the atmosphere and land at Siziwang Banner in north China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region. ■

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