China ready for Thursday unmanned sample return mission from the moon

The Chang’e 5-T1 mission is set to blast off from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in Sichuan, China, on 23 October. It will fly around the back of the moon and return to Earth on October 31st.

It’s a precursor to a more advanced mission planned for 2017. This future mission will send a lunar orbiter that will release a lander to touch down on the moon’s surface and collect 2 kilograms of soil and rock.

Chang’e 5-T1 will test China’s heat-shield technology

China’s 2017 target is to land on the moon, scoop up some rocks and soil, and bring it all back to Earth (Image: CNSA)

China is also moving ahead with its space station.

China will launch a space laboratory [Temple II] in 2016, and the 11th in the subsequent launch of Shenzhou spacecraft and cargo spacecraft One day boat docking; post-2018 emission test core module, to test space station construction techniques and validation, followed in 2022 after the completion of the construction of the space station in orbit.

SOURCES – New Scientist, CASC (China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporatiopn)