China’s Chang’e 6 robotic probe enters lunar orbit

BEIJING: China’s Chang’e 6 robotic probe entered a lunar orbit on Wednesday morning and started flying around the Moon, according to the China National Space Administration.

China Daily quoted the administration as saying that, guided with precision by spacecraft control experts at the Beijing Aerospace Control Centre, the Chang’e 6 probe executed a braking maneuver as it neared the lunar surface, subsequently achieving successful entry into lunar orbit at 10:12 am.

Before the crucial maneuver, the 8.35-metric-ton Chang’e 6 had flown nearly 113 hours along an Earth-Moon transfer trajectory.

A key orbital control measure for any lunar mission, the braking operation is performed to reduce the spacecraft’s speed to make sure it can be captured by the Moon’s gravitational field rather than accidentally flying past the celestial body.

The Chang’e 6 spacecraft was launched by a Long March 5 heavy-lift carrier rocket on Friday afternoon at the Wenchang Space Launch Centre in Hainan province, in an attempt to rea
lise the world’s first expedition to bring samples from the lunar far side back to Earth.

The Chang’e 6 spacecraft is designed and built by the Beijing-based China Academy of Space Technology and consists of four components – an orbiter, a lander, an ascender, and a reentry capsule.

Source: Emirates News Agency