Encyclopedia Astronautica
Chang'e



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Chang'e 1
Chang'e 1 model exhibited at UN exhibit, Vienna, 2011
Credit: © Mark Wade
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Chang'e 3
Chang'e 3 model exhibited at UN exhibit, Vienna, 2011
Credit: © Mark Wade
Chinese unmanned lunar orbiter. Two launched, 2007.10.24 and 2010.10.01. Originally announced in March 2003 with the first spacecraft to reach the moon by the end of 2005.

Ouyang Ziyuan announced the Chang'e Program (then still awaiting government approval), named after the Chinese legend about a young fairy that flew to the moon. Luan Enjie, Director of the China National Space Administration, announced China that China would finish the first phase of the Chang'e Program by 2010

Chang'e would consist of three phases or robotic spacecraft:

  • Lunar orbiters, which would map the surface in three dimensions. They would also analyze the content and distribution of useful elements on the lunar surface, measure the density of lunar soil, and monitor the near-moon space environment

  • Wheeled rovers, which would roam the lunar surface and examine and collect lunar rocks and soil

  • Soil return spacecraft, which would land on the moon, receive the samples collected by the rovers, and return them to earth.

Ouyang said a piloted mission to the moon was not a goal for China within the next decade. This authoritatively refuted several leaks in January/February 2003 of plans for a near-term manned circumlunar flight. The orbiter was within the capability of existing Chinese boosters. The rover and lander would have to await availability of the heavy-lift CZ-5 after 2010.

First Launch: 2007.10.24.
Last Launch: 2010.10.01.
Number: 2 .

More... - Chronology...


Associated Countries
See also
  • CZ China's first ICBM, the DF-5, first flew in 1971. It was a two-stage storable-propellant rocket in the same class as the American Titan, the Russian R-36, or the European Ariane. The DF-5 spawned a long series of Long March ("Chang Zheng") CZ-2, CZ-3, and CZ-4 launch vehicles. These used cryogenic engines for upper stages and liquid-propellant strap-on motors to create a family of 12 Long-March rocket configurations capable of placing up to 9,200 kg into orbit. In 2000 China began development of a new generation of expendable launch vehicles using non-toxic, high-performance propellants with supposedly lower operating costs. However these encountered development delays, and it seemed the reliable Long March series of rockets would continue in operational use for nearly fifty years before being replaced. More...

Associated Launch Vehicles
  • CZ Chinese orbital launch vehicle. China's first ICBM, the DF-5, first flew in 1971. It was a two-stage storable-propellant rocket in the same class as the American Titan, the Russian R-36, or the European Ariane. The DF-5 spawned a long series of Long March ("Chang Zheng") CZ-2, CZ-3, and CZ-4 launch vehicles. These used cryogenic engines for upper stages and liquid-propellant strap-on motors to create a family of 12 Long-March rocket configurations capable of placing up to 9,200 kg into orbit. In 2000 China began development of a new generation of expendable launch vehicles using non-toxic, high-performance propellants with supposedly lower operating costs. However these encountered development delays, and it seemed the reliable Long March series of rockets would continue in operational use for nearly fifty years before being replaced. More...
  • CZ-3A Chinese three-stage orbital launch vehicle. The Long March 3A, by incorporating the mature technologies of the CZ-3 and adding a more powerful cryogenic third stage and more capable control system, had a greater geosynchronous transfer orbit capability, greater flexibility for attitude control, and better adaptability to a variety of launch missions. More...

Associated Manufacturers and Agencies
  • CASC Chinese manufacturer of spacecraft. China Aerospace Corporation, China. More...
  • CNSA Chinese agency overseeing development of spacecraft. China National Space Agency, China. More...

Bibliography
  • McDowell, Jonathan, Jonathan's Space Home Page (launch records), Harvard University, 1997-present. Web Address when accessed: here.
  • Mansfield, Simon, editor, Space Daily, The best source for space news on the web.. Web Address when accessed: here.

Associated Launch Sites
  • Xichang China's launch site for geosynchronous orbit launches. Xichang Satellite Launch Centre is situated in Xichang, Sichuan Province, south-western China. The launch pad is at 102.0 degrees East and 28.2 degrees North. The head office of the launch centre is located in Xichang City, about 65 kilometers away. Xichang Airport is 50 km away. A dedicated railway and highway lead directly to the launch site. More...

Chang'e Chronology


2007 October 24 - . 10:05 GMT - . Launch Site: Xichang. Launch Complex: Xichang LC1. Launch Pad: LC1?. LV Family: CZ. Launch Vehicle: CZ-3A. LV Configuration: Chang Zheng 3A CZ3A-15 (103).
  • Chang'e 1 - . Mass: 2,300 kg (5,000 lb). Nation: China. Agency: SISE. Class: Moon. Type: Lunar probe. Spacecraft: Chang'e. USAF Sat Cat: 32273 . COSPAR: 2007-051B. Apogee: 50,182 km (31,181 mi). Perigee: 147 km (91 mi). Inclination: 30.8000 deg. Period: 929.20 min. China's first unmanned lunar/planetary probe. The initial orbit of 221 x 50,602 km x 31.0 deg was raised to a translunar trajectory by 31 October in a serious of spacecraft engine burns. The spacecraft entered a 210 km x 8600 km lunar orbit at 03:37 GMT on 5 November.

2010 October 1 - . 11:00 GMT - . Launch Site: Xichang. LV Family: CZ. Launch Vehicle: CZ-3C.
  • Chang'e 2 - . Payload: Chang'e 2. Nation: China. Agency: SISE. Class: Moon. Type: Lunar probe. Spacecraft: Chang'e. USAF Sat Cat: 37174 . COSPAR: 2010-050A. China's second lunar orbiter. Entered a 119 x 8599 km lunar orbit on 1 October at 03:14 GMT. By 9 October it had maneuvered to its operational 100-km circular lunar orbit. On 9 June 2011, its lunar mission complete, it was maneuvered out of lunar orbit, and arrived at the Sun-Earth L2 Lagrangian point on 25 August 2011.

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