Open main menu

Chang'e 5 (Chinese: 嫦娥五号; pinyin: Cháng'é wǔhào) is a robotic Chinese lunar exploration mission consisting of an orbiter and a lander. 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.[4] 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.[2] 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 mass8,200 kg (18,100 lb)
Start of mission
Launch dateDecember 2019[1]
RocketChang Zheng 5
Launch siteWenchang
End of mission
Landing siteMons Rumker region of Oceanus Procellarum[2][3]
Orbital parameters
Reference systemSelenocentric
Moon orbiter
Moon lander
Sample mass2 kg (4.4 lb)[2]



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 (launched in December 2018, expected to landing on the Moon in 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.[5]

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.[4] Targeted to the northwest region of the Moon, the specific region intended for sampling is Mons Rümker in Oceanus Procellarum.[2][3] After making a soft landing, the lander will dig 2 metres (6.6 ft) below the surface for a 2 kg lunar sample from basalt estimated to be 1.3 billion years old, younger than the 3–4 billion year old samples obtained by the American Apollo missions.[3]

Unlike earlier Soviet missions, the mission will make an automatic rendezvous and docking with the return module in lunar orbit before flying back to the Earth.[2][6]

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.[7][8]

Lander payloadEdit

The lander will carry landing cameras, optical cameras, a mineral spectrometer, a soil gas analytical instrument, a soil composition analytical instrument, a sampling sectional thermo-detector, and a ground-penetrating radar.[2][6] 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.[6]


  1. ^ Nowakowski, Tomasz (9 August 2017). "China Eyes Manned Lunar Landing by 2036". Retrieved 17 August 2017.
  2. ^ a b c d e f Future Chinese Lunar Missions. David R. Williams, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. Accessed on 30 November 2018.
  3. ^ 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.
  4. ^ a b Jeff Foust (25 September 2017). "Long March 5 failure to postpone China's lunar exploration program". SpaceNews. Retrieved 17 December 2017.
  5. ^ China lays out its ambitions to colonize the moon and build a "lunar palace". Echo Huang, Quartz. 26 April 2018.
  6. ^ a b c "Chang'e 5 test mission". 2017. Retrieved 17 December 2017.
  7. ^ "Chinese Long March Rocket successfully launches Lunar Return Demonstrator". Spaceflight101. Oct 23, 2014.
  8. ^ "China launches test return orbiter for lunar mission". Xinhuanet. Oct 24, 2014.