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Chang'e 5 (Chinese: 嫦娥五号; pinyin: Cháng'é wǔhào) is a robotic Chinese lunar exploration mission consisting of a lander and a sample-return vehicle. It is currently under development and it is scheduled for a launch in December 2019, after being postponed due to the failure of the Long March 5 launch vehicle in 2017.[5] Chang'e 5 will be China's first sample return mission, aiming to return at least 2 kilograms of lunar soil and rock samples back to the Earth.[3] Like its predecessors, the spacecraft is named after the Chinese moon goddess, Chang'e. This will be the first lunar sample-return mission since Luna 24 in 1976.

Chang'e 5
Mission typeSurface sample return
Spacecraft properties
Launch mass3,780 kg (8,330 lb)[1]
Start of mission
Launch dateDecember 2019[2]
RocketChang Zheng 5
Launch siteWenchang
End of mission
Landing siteMons Rumker region of Oceanus Procellarum[3][4]
Moon lander
Chang'e 5 mission profile



The Chinese Lunar Exploration Program is designed to be conducted in three phases of incremental technological advancement: The first is simply reaching lunar orbit, a task completed by Chang'e 1 in 2007 and Chang'e 2 in 2010. The second is landing and roving on the Moon, as Chang'e 3 did in 2013 and Chang'e 4 in 2019 (launched in December 2018, landed on the far side of the Moon in January 2019). The third phase is collecting lunar samples from the near-side and sending them to Earth, a task for the future Chang'e 5 and Chang'e 6 missions. The program aims to facilitate a crewed lunar landing in the 2030s and possibly build an outpost near the south pole.[6]

Mission profileEdit

The probe was planned for launch by the Long March 5 rocket at the Wenchang Satellite Launch Center on Hainan Island, but the failure of this vehicle in 2017 created uncertainty about its ability to carry Chang'e 5.[5] The spacecraft will be launched with Chang Zheng 5 rocket. Targeted to the northwest region of the Moon, the specific region intended for sampling is Mons Rümker in Oceanus Procellarum.[3][4]

The mission is reported to consist of four modules: the lander would collect about 2 kg (4.4 lb) of samples from 2 metres (6.6 ft) below the surface[4] and place them in an attached ascent vehicle that will be launched into lunar orbit. The ascent vehicle will make an automatic rendezvous and docking with an orbiter that would transfer the samples into a sample-return capsule for their delivery to Earth.[3][7]

The estimated launch mass is 3,780 kg (8,330 lb), the lander is projected to be 1,200 kg (2,600 lb) and the ascent vehicle is about 120 kg (260 lb).[1] [3][8]

Chang'e 5-T1Edit

Chang'e 5-T1 is an experimental robotic lunar mission that was launched on 23 October 2014 to conduct atmospheric re-entry tests on the capsule design planned to be used in the Chang'e 5 mission.[9][10] Its service module, called DFH-3A, remained in orbit around the Earth before being relocated via Earth-Moon L2 to lunar orbit by 13 January 2015, where it is using its remaining 800 kg of fuel to test maneuvers key to future lunar missions.[11]

Lander payloadEdit

The lander will carry landing cameras, a panoramic camera, a mineral spectrometer, a soil gas analytical instrument, a soil composition analytical instrument, a sampling sectional thermo-detector, and a ground-penetrating radar.[3][7] For acquiring samples, it will be equipped with a robotic arm, rotary-percussive drill, a scoop for sampling, and separation tubes to isolate individual samples.[7]


  1. ^ a b Chang'e 5 and Chang'e 6. Gunter Dirk Krebs, Gunter's Space Page. Accessed on 9 January 2019.
  2. ^ Nowakowski, Tomasz (9 August 2017). "China Eyes Manned Lunar Landing by 2036". Retrieved 17 August 2017.
  3. ^ a b c d e f Future Chinese Lunar Missions. David R. Williams, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. Accessed on 30 November 2018.
  4. ^ a b c Andrew Jones (7 June 2017). "China confirms landing site for Chang'e-5 Moon sample return". GB Times. Retrieved 17 December 2017.
  5. ^ a b Jeff Foust (25 September 2017). "Long March 5 failure to postpone China's lunar exploration program". SpaceNews. Retrieved 17 December 2017.
  6. ^ China lays out its ambitions to colonize the moon and build a "lunar palace". Echo Huang, Quartz. 26 April 2018.
  7. ^ a b c "Chang'e 5 test mission". 2017. Retrieved 17 December 2017.
  8. ^ China well prepared to launch Chang e-5 lunar probe in 2017: top scientist. China Academy of Space Technology (CAST). 25 October 2016.
  9. ^ "Chinese Long March Rocket successfully launches Lunar Return Demonstrator". Spaceflight101. Oct 23, 2014.
  10. ^ "China launches test return orbiter for lunar mission". Xinhuanet. Oct 24, 2014.
  11. ^ "Chang'e 5 Test Mission Updates". Spaceflight 101. Retrieved 14 December 2014.