Long March 5 successfully launched from China's CNSA
Long March 5 successfully launched from China's CNSA

The China National Space Administration (CNSA) called the launch of the Long March-5, China’s largest carrier rocket, blasted off at 4:30 a.m, Beijing time (2030 GMT on Monday) from Wenchang Space Launch Center on the southern Chinese island of Hainan carrying the Chang’e-5 spacecraft as a successful launch.

CNSA statement says  the rocket flew for nearly 37 minutes before sending the spacecraft on its intended trajectory. The Chang’e-5 mission, named after the ancient Chinese goddess of the moon, is sent to collect lunar material to help scientists understand more about the moon’s origins and formation. The mission will test China’s ability to remotely acquire samples from space, ahead of more complex missions. China will be the third country to have retrieved lunar samples provided the mission is completed as planned, joining the United States and the Soviet Union. Pei Zhaoyu, a spokesman for the mission has informed that the landing is due to take place in about eight days. 

The mission's scheduled time is 23 days. A robotic arm scoops out soil and rocks with a drill on the lunar surface. This material would be transferred to the ascender vehicle, which is due to carry it from the surface and then dock with an orbiting module. The samples then would be transferred to a return capsule for the return trip to Earth, lands in China’s Inner Mongolia region. The challenges involved are the sampling work on the lunar surface, take-off from the lunar surface, rendezvous and docking in the lunar orbit, as well as high-speed re-entry to Earth, informed the spokesperson. Pei is also the director of the space administration’s Lunar Exploration and Space Engineering Center. 

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