China completes first-ever docking in lunar orbit


  • In another place first for the nation, a Chinese probe carrying carrier samples from the lunar surface docked Sunday.
  • The cargo capsule with lunar rocks and soil lifted on Thursday.
  • According to a news agency, the capsule has transferred the moon samples to the arbiter, which will separate and return to Earth.

A Chinese probe that took samples from the lunar surface successfully struck Sunday with a spacecraft orbiting the moon, in another location first for the nation, state media reported.

The maneuver was part of the ambitious Chang’e-5 mission, named after a mythical Chinese moon goddess, to bring the first lunar samples in four decades.

The cargo capsule containing lunar rocks and soil lifted from the surface on Thursday, and docked with the orbiter Sunday morning, the official Xinhua News Agency said, citing the China National Space Administration (CNSA).

Xinhua said it was China’s first “rendezvous and docking in a lunar new moon.”

The departure of the cargo capsule from the lunar surface on Thursday was also the first: the first lift off of a Chinese craft from an extraterrestrial body.

Chinese flag raised on Moon’s surface

The capsule delivered the moon samples to the orbiter, which will separate and return to Earth, Xinhua.

China seeks to capture the United States and Russia for decades to match their achievements, and has poured billions into its military space program.

Her space agency had earlier said that “before raising, the Chinese flag was raised on the moon’s surface”.

Scientists hope that the samples from Chang’e-5 will help them learn more about the origins and volcanic activity on the moon’s surface.

If the return journey is successful, China will become only the third country to have samples of the moon after the United States and the Soviet Union in the 1960s and 1970s.

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