China's Chang'e 5 probe prepares to land on moon

This image grab made from video animation provided by the Beijing Aerospace Control Center (BACC) shows China's Chang'e 5 probe as it carries out a second braking maneuveur on Nov 29, 2020. - BEIJING AEROSPACE CONTROL CENTER)

BEIJING (Xinhua): China's Chang'e 5 probe is preparing for a soft landing on the moon to undertake the country's first collection of samples from an extraterrestrial body.

The lander-ascender combination of the spacecraft separated from its orbiter-returner combination at 4.40am Monday (Beijing Time), according to the China National Space Administration (CNSA).

Launched on Nov 24, Chang'e 5 is one of the most complicated and challenging missions in China's aerospace history, as well as the world's first moon-sample mission for more than 40 years.

The spacecraft is performing well and communication with ground control is normal, CNSA said.

The lander-ascender combination will execute a soft landing on the moon and carry out automatic sampling.

The orbiter-returner will continue orbiting about 200kms above the lunar surface and wait for rendezvous and docking with the ascender.

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China , Chang'e-5 , moon , samples , launch , land


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