Sunday, January 3, 2021

China's Chang'e-5 moon probe set for successful return to Earth - 中國的月球探測器將成功返回地球

The China National Space Administration has announced the Chang’e 5 returner module is set to land in Mongolia. On board are around two kilograms of moon rocks and dust. The mission has made China certainly the first country to have retrieved these samples since the 1970s. China has advanced space exploration.

Chang'e 5 is a robotic mission of the Chinese Lunar Exploration Program. Like its predecessors, the spacecraft was named after the Chinese moon goddess, Chang'e.

Chang'e ( Chinese: 嫦娥 ), originally known as Heng'e, is the Chinese goddess of the Moon. She is the subject of several legends in Chinese mythology, most of which incorporate several of the following elements: Houyi the archer, a benevolent or malevolent emperor, an elixir of life, and the Moon. She is married to Houyi. In modern times, Chang'e has certainly been the namesake of the Chinese Lunar Exploration Program.

Chang’e-5 landed in Inner Mongolia. The Chang’e-5 sample return vehicle successfully landed in Siziwang Banner, Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, China, on 16 December 2020.

Chang’e-5 is China’s first lunar mission to collect soil samples from the Moon and return them to Earth to be studied. Chang’e-5 collected samples near Mons Rümker, in the northern region of Oceanus Procellarum, a younger volcanic complex.

Chang'e-4 landed in Von Kármán crater, within the Moon's South Pole-Aitken basin, in December 2018. An ancient lunar impact there may have exposed the Moon's mantle.

Chang'e 1 and Chang'e 2 lofted moon orbiters in 2007 and 2010, respectively.

Chang'e 3 put a lander-rover duo down on the lunar nearside in December 2013.

The Chinese Lunar Exploration Program ( CLEP; Chinese: 中国探月 ). It is also known as the Chang'e Project ( Chinese: 嫦娥工程 ). This is really an ongoing series of robotic Moon missions by the China National Space Administration (CNSA). The program incorporates lunar orbiters, landers, rovers and sample return spacecraft, launched using Long March rockets. Launches and flights are monitored by a telemetry, tracking, and command (TT&C) system.

Telemetry is the in situ collection of measurements or other data at remote points and their automatic transmission to receiving equipment for monitoring. The word is derived from the Greek roots tele, "remote", and metron, "measure".

The Long March rockets is a family of expendable launch system rockets operated by the China National Space Administration (CNSA). In English, the rockets are abbreviated as LM- for export and CZ- within China, as "Chang Zheng" (长征) means Long March in Chinese pinyin. The rockets are really named after the Long March of Chinese history.

Long March 5 is a Chinese heavy-lift launch vehicle developed by the China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology. Successfully, it is the first Chinese launch vehicle designed from the ground up to focus on non-hypergolic liquid rocket propellants. There are currently two CZ-5 variants: CZ-5 and CZ-5B.

Rockets in Chinese history are interesting. Rockets were first used as actual weapons in the battle of Kai-fung-fu in 1232 A.D. The Chinese attempted to repel Mongol invaders with barrages of fire arrows and, possibly, gunpowder-launched grenades.

It is better to launch a spaceship from near the equator. It gives it more speed. The explanation is complicated. The spin of the Earth itself can help give the spaceship "a push." The land at the equator is moving 1670 km per hour, and land halfway to the pole is only moving 1180 km per hour, so launching from the equator makes the spacecraft move almost 500 km/hour faster once it is launched.

You might have thought about why NASA launches from Florida. It was selected for 2 reasons:
(1) it is relatively near to the equator compared with other USA locations
(2) it is on the East Coast. An East Coast location was desirable because any rockets leaving Earth's surface and traveling eastward get a boost from the Earth's west-to-east spin.

Rockets can tilt to the side to get the best turn. A gravity turn or zero-lift turn is a maneuver used in launching a spacecraft into, or descending from, an orbit around a celestial body such as a planet or a moon. It is a trajectory optimization that uses gravity to steer the vehicle onto its desired trajectory.

Interesting Translations:

China National Space Administration (CNSA) - 国家航天局
Armillary sphere (渾儀)
Abridged armilla (簡儀)
Celestial globe (渾象) before Qing Dynasty
Celestial globe (天體儀) in the Qing Dynasty
The water-powered armillary sphere and celestial globe tower (水運儀象台)
Shi Shen astronomy 石申天文
Astronomic star observation 天文星占
Book of Celestial Offices 天官書
Star Manual of the Masters Gan and Shi 甘石星經
Book of Jin 晉書
Book of Sui 隋書
Treatise on Astrology of the Kaiyuan Era 開元占經
The Great Firmament Star Manual Common to Astrology 通占大象曆星經
Telemetry 遙測
Technology 技術
Trajectory 彈道
Equator 赤道
Spaceship 飛船
Exploration 勘探
Mission 任務
Gravity 重力
Vehicle 車輛
Lunar Orbiter 月球軌道器

In ancient China, the prevailing belief was that the Earth was flat and square, while the heavens were round. This assumption was virtually unquestioned until the introduction of European astronomy in the 17th century.

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