China plans to launch Chang`e 5 in 2017
China plans to launch lunar probe Chang`e 5 in 2017, the State Administration of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defence announced Monday.
Beijing: China plans to launch lunar probe Chang`e 5 in 2017, the State Administration of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defence announced Monday.
"The development of Chang`e 5 is proceeding smoothly," the administration`s spokesman Wu Zhijian said at a press conference here.
The just-concluded Chang`e 3 mission marked completion of the second phase of the country`s lunar programme, which includes orbiting, landing, and returning to Earth, reports Xinhua.
The lunar programme will enter the next stage of unmanned sampling and returning, which will include Chang`e 5 and 6 missions, said Wu.
"The programme`s third phase will be more difficult because many breakthroughs must be made in key technologies such as moon surface takeoff, sampling encapsulation, rendezvous, and docking in lunar orbit, and high-speed Earth re-entry, which are all new to China," Wu added.
As the back-up probe of the Chang`e 3, Chang`e 4 will be adapted to verify technologies for Chang`e 5, according to Wu.
China`s Chang`e 1 and Chang`e 2 missions were launched in 2007 and 2010, respectively.
Chang`e 2, launched Oct 1, 2010, is now about 65 million km from Earth and is conducting a long-term mission to verify China`s deep-space tracking and control systems.