Chang'e 5-T1 (Chinese: 嫦娥五号T1; pinyin: Cháng'é wǔhào T1) is an experimental robotic spacecraft that was launched to the Moon on 23 October 2014 by the China National Space Administration (CNSA) to conduct atmospheric re-entry tests on the capsule design planned to be used in the Chang'e 5 mission. As part of the Chinese Lunar Exploration Program, Chang'e 5, scheduled to launch in December 2019, will be a Moon sample return mission. Like its predecessors, the spacecraft is named after the Chinese Moon goddess Chang'e. The craft consisted of a return vehicle capsule and a service module orbiter.
Chang'e 5-T1's re-entry module after vacuum thermal tests
|Mission type||Chang'e 5 precursor mission, lunar flyby and Earth reentry|
|Mission duration||Primary Mission: 8.17 days |
Extended Mission: 1763 days
|Launch mass||Service Module approximately 2,215 kg, return capsule under 335 kg|
|Start of mission|
|Launch date||23 October 2014, 18:00UTC|
|Rocket||Long March 3C/G2|
|Launch site||Xichang LC-2|
|End of mission|
|Landing date||31 October 2014, 22:42 UTC|
|Landing site||Siziwang Banner, Inner Mongolia|
|Regime||Lunar free return|
The return capsule of Chang'e 5-T1, named Xiaofei (Chinese: 小飞) meaning "little flyer" in Chinese, landed in Siziwang Banner, Inner Mongolia on 31 October 2014, 22:42 UTC. The CE-5-T1 Service Module entered lunar orbit on January 13, 2015. Its initial orbit was 200 x 5300 km with period of 8 hours.
It consisted of a DFH-3A "Chang'e 2 type" spacecraft with a mass of approximately 2,215 kg (including 1,065 kg of fuel) carrying the Chang'e 5 return capsule with a mass of under 335 kg. The craft was launched by a Long March 3C rocket into a lunar free return trajectory. It looped behind the Moon and returned to Earth, with the return capsule testing the high speed atmospheric skip reentry. The DFH-3A "service module" remained in orbit around the Earth before being relocated via Earth-Moon L2 to lunar orbit by 13 January 2015, where it will use its remaining 800 kg of fuel to test maneuvers key to future lunar missions.
In February and March 2015 the DFH-3A "service module" performed two "virtual target" rendezvous tests for the future Chang'e 5 mission. In April 2015 the small monitoring camera was used to obtain higher resolution photos of Chang'e 5's landing zone.
- Launch: Xichang Satellite Launch Center, October 23, 2014, 18:00 UTC
- Nominal mission duration: Chang'e 5 return capsule: 196 hours (8.17 days)
- Nominal mission duration: DFH-3A: Ongoing
- Lunar fly-by: 97 hours after final orbit insertion (4.04 days)
- Periselenium: ≈13,000 km from Moon surface
- Distance of Moon from Earth at closest fly-by: ≈373,000 km
- Landing: Siziwang Banner, Inner Mongolia, 31 October 2014, 22:42 UTC
Chang'e 5-T1 also carries the first commercial payload to the Moon called the 4M mission (Manfred Memorial Moon Mission) for the German space technology company OHB System, in honor of the company's founder, Manfred Fuchs, who died in 2014. Technical management of the 4M mission was performed by LuxSpace. The payload weighs 14 kilograms and contains two scientific instruments. The first instrument is a radio beacon to test a new approach for locating spacecraft. Amateur radio operators were encouraged via prize incentives to receive the transmissions and send results back to LuxSpace. The second instrument, a radiation dosimeter provided by the Spanish company iC-Málaga, continuously measured radiation levels throughout the satellite's circumlunar path.
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- Pocket Spacecraft - Space exploration for everyone - official website for another secondary payload at Chang'e 5-T1