China’s Chang’e 2 Simulations


The following are video simulations of China’s Chang’e 2 mission and beyond. Texts are extracted from “China Ready For Another Lunar Encounter” and “China’s Space Programme Gears Up For Missions To Moon And Mars” and “China’s Next Moon Probe to Be Faster, Better Than First “.

Preparation, Launch, Separation, Arrival China could launch its second lunar probe within days. The Chang’e 2 spacecraft was originally built as a back-up to China’s first lunar orbiter, Chang’e 1, which was launched successfully in 2007. Some changes will take place soon after launch. China is planning a more direct climb out of Earth orbit to the Moon, which will see the spacecraft reach its goal in roughly five days. This is less than half the transit time of the first mission.

Orbiting the Moon Reaching the Moon, Chang’e 2 will be placed in an orbit “100 kilometres closer to the Moon”, according to a Xinhua report. The math is simple. Chang’e 1 was placed in an orbit of roughly 200 kilometres, so we can expect Chang’e 2 to orbit at roughly 100 kilometres above the surface. The orbital altitude has halved! It was stated that Chang’e 2 will return higher resolution images than its predecessor. It’s clear that the camera itself is a better instrument (Chang’e 1’s resolution was around 120 metres), but some of the improvements in the images will also be a result of the lower orbit. Chinese statements speak of resolutions between one metre and seven metres, depending on the distance to the Moon. Chang’e 2 will also release an impactor to strike the Moon, a feat earlier performed by India’s Chandrayaan-1 orbiter. The Chang’e 2 impactor will serve several functions. It will give China experience in descending a spacecraft from lunar orbit and tracking it.

Phase 2: Soft Landing, Exploration Chang’e-2 will carry out a soft-landing test in preparation for the launch of Chang’e-3, which is scheduled for 2013. Chang’e 2 will photograph the landing site planned for the Chang’e 3 robot lander, which is still apparently slated for 2013. This suggests that the landing site has already been tentatively chosen, or at the very least, China now has a short list of candidate sites. Sites have possibly been earmarked for China’s other landers, which include at least one sample-return mission. The need to scout landing sites is probably a major motivation in selecting the low orbit in the first place. Seeing boulders large enough to pose a hazard to these landers will require very high-resolution imagery, and it seems likely that these landing sites will be high-priority targets when Chang’e 2 makes its lowest orbits above the Moon.

Phase 2: Return to Earth Around 2017, China is planning to return a moon rock sample to Earth.

Slide show of real photos (total 33, with notes in Chinese) is available too. Here is another video from YouTube which shows more details (in Chinese):


Note: October 1 is the national day of China.


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2 Responses to “China’s Chang’e 2 Simulations”

  1. World Wide News Flash Says:

    China's Chang'e 2 Simulations « Paviavio…

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  2. Competition of the Moon Missions « Paviavio           Says:

    […] Paviavio                                a pattern in the sky « China’s Chang’e 2 Simulations […]

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