BEIJING (dpa-AFX) – Two complex maneuvers were successful in the Chinese lunar mission on Sunday: First, a rock sample module from the Earth satellite was anchored on the Chang’e 5 spacecraft in orbit around the moon. After the rocks on the Moon were stuck there in the return capsule, the module came out again. According to the official Xinhua news agency, the spacecraft continued to orbit the Moon on Sunday, waiting for the right moment to return to Earth. Landing there is expected in the middle of the month.
After landing on the moon unmanned, China succeeded in the first manned robot maneuver on a spacecraft in orbit around the Earth satellite on Sunday morning, during Beijing time. The ascent phase was successfully associated with the spaceship named after the Chinese moon goddess. The Moon mission is another important step in China’s ambitious space program, which envisions future manned moon landings.
It is the first time in more than four decades that rock specimens have been re-collected on the moon and brought to Earth for testing. In the event of a successful return, China would be only the third nation after the United States and the Soviet Union in the 1960s and 1970s to succeed in such a project. / Lw / DP / zb