Monday, July 08, 2024

The Earth and The Moon | China Chang'e 5-T1 Lunar Mission

The Earth and The Moon: October 2014 | China Chang'e 5-T1 Lunar Mission

The Earth and the Moon image captured by Chang'e 5-T1 service module in October 2014.

Chang'e 5-T1 was an experimental pre-cursor robotic spacecraft (test vehicle) that was launched to the Moon on October 23, 2014, by the China National Space Administration (CNSA) to conduct atmospheric re-entry tests on the capsule design planned to be used for the later Chang'e 5 Mission. 

Chang'e 5-T1's successor, Chang'e 5, launched in 2020, was a Moon sample return mission. Like its predecessors, the spacecraft was named after the Chinese Moon goddess Chang'e. The craft consisted of a return vehicle capsule, a lander, an ascender, and a service module orbiter.

The CE-5-T1 Service Module's orbit took it past the Moon with a closest approach altitude of about 11,300 km on October 27, 2024, and an apogee of approximately 380,000 km, and then around the Moon and back to Earth.

The return capsule of Chang'e 5-T1, named Xiaofei, meaning "little flyer" in Chinese, landed in Siziwang Banner, Inner Mongolia, on October 31, 2014.

The purpose of the Chang'e 5-T1 mission was to demonstrate hyper-speed semi-ballistic skip reentry technologies, including the circumlunar free return trajectory design, aerodynamic design and verification, thermal protection, guidance, navigation and control as well as a lightweight and minimized recovery system.

Image Credit: China National Space Administration (CNSA)/CLEP-China Lunar Exploration Program 

Image Date: October 2014

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