China positions rocket ahead of ambitious lunar mission

China moves Long March5 rocket to launch site ahead of Change 5 lunar lander launch

The fifth Long March-5 rocket, with China's new lunar probe Chang'e-5 on top, has been vertically transported to Wenchang Space Launch Center in south China's Hainan Province on Tuesday. According to CASC, the rocket has been delivered by sea to the Wenchang city in late September, after which specialists performed a series of preparations and necessary tests.

The 8.2-metric ton Chang'e 5 has four components-an orbiter, lander, ascender and a reentry module.

Its findings will facilitate scientists' research on the moon's origin and evolution, the administration said in a statement on Tuesday morning, when the Long March 5 heavy-lift carrier rocket, which will be used to lift the robotic probe, was moved to its launch pad at the Wenchang center. The mission calls for digging the moon lander part of Chang 5 about 7 feet below the surface and retrieving what it finds.

After the surface operations are completed, the ascender's rocket will elevate it to lunar orbit to dock with the reentry module. After separation, the returner re-enters the earth alone, which is expected to land in north China's Inner Mongolia in mid-December.

"This is now one of our country's most complicated and multifaceted space missions", China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC) said.

"Taking it to the next level to return samples from the moon is an important technical ability", says Caroline Van Der Bogart, a planetary geologist at the University of Monster.

Considering these highly sophisticated operations, Chang'e 5 will be more hard and challenging than previous Chinese lunar expeditions, designers said.

A Long March 5 carrier rocket is to put the Chang'e-5 lunar probe on course for the moon this month.

'This is the first time it will carry out the tasks of collecting samples and returning [to earth]. In July, it successfully sent China's first Mars probe Tianwen-1 into the Earth-Mars transfer orbit.

General Deputy Designer of the Long March-5 Liu Bing expressed his optimism about the upcoming lunar exploration mission.

"The previous launches have tested the rocket in certain key technologies, so we're more confident this time and I hope it'll be successful. Now our focus is on key control measures at the launch site, especially in the areas related to the flying mission", Liu told CGTN.

China first put a man in space in 2003, becoming only the third nation to do so after the USA and Russian Federation.

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