China’s National Space Administration announced the successful completion of a critical phase of the Chang’e-5 mission, which is tasked with delivering lunar soil samples to Earth.
Recall that the automatic station “Chang’e-5” set off to the natural satellite of our planet at the end of last month, after which the descent block made a soft landing on the lunar surface. Then the regolith was sampled, and the module with the obtained samples set off on its way back – to dock with the orbital block.
So, it is reported that the take-off module has successfully docked in the lunar orbit with the service module. Moreover, the operation to move the regolith capsule has already been performed.
Now the returned unit will undock from the take-off module and go towards the Earth – this will happen in a few days, at the optimal time for departure. Around mid-December, a capsule with lunar soil samples should land in Inner Mongolia.
Thus, China is, in fact, one step away from becoming the third space power in history to deliver lunar soil to Earth. Until now, only the Soviet Union and the United States have been able to do this.
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