China has announced that its lunar probe Chang’e-5 has entered Moon-Earth transfer orbit successfully. According to the CNSA, the orbiter-returner conducted its second orbital maneuver as planned to enter the targeted orbit. The agency said that four 150N engines fired at a distance of 230 km from Moon’s surface. The engines were shut down after 22 minutes. The real-time monitoring data showed that it perfectly entered the orbit. The development marks an important milestone in its return journey to Earth with the lunar samples. The CNSA said that spacecraft is carrying lunar samples. It will conduct orbital correction as it continues its journey back to Earth from Moon.
After the spacecraft’s orbital correction, the orbiter and returner will be separated from each other. As per the plan, the returner will land in Dorbod Banner in Inner Mongolia. The lunar samples will be then transferred to specially developed facilities by experts. They will study the lunar rocks and soil. Chang’e-5 was launched by the CNSA on November 24. It comprises a lander, an orbiter, and a returner. According to China’s claim, the probe touched down on Moon’s surface on December 1. It landed in Oceanus Procellarum. It collected samples on December 3. The lunar soil and rocks weigh around 2 kg.
Chang’e 5 is China’s first sample return mission. It is also the first lunar sample-return mission in the last 44 years. The last mission was launched in 1976. It was launched by the Soviet Union. It was named Luna 24. The robotic probe brought back lunar soil samples. Once China receives the lunar samples, it will become the third country in the world to achieve this feat other than Russia and the United States. China has also claimed that a Chinese flag was raised on the lunar surface before the spacecraft began its return journey. China has described Chang’e-5 as one of the most challenging and complicated missions in the history of the country’s space science.