Chang'e 6 lifts off with samples collected from lunar far side

By Zhao Lei | | Updated: 2024-06-04 07:55
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This image taken from video animation at Beijing Aerospace Control Center (BACC) on June 4, 2024 shows the ascender of China's Chang'e-6 probe, carrying samples collected from the moon's far side, lifting off from lunar surface. The ascender has entered a preset orbit around the moon, said the China National Space Administration (CNSA). [Photo/Xinhua]

China's Chang'e 6 mission has completed the most important part of its lunar adventure as its sample-loaded ascender lifted off from the moon's far side on Tuesday morning.

According to the China National Space Administration, the ascender, one of the four major components of the Chang'e 6 robotic probe, started its ascent engine at 7:38 am and flew nearly 6 minutes before reaching a lunar orbit.

The mission has collected lunar samples in the past two days, and they are sealed inside a container on the ascender.

This stitched panoramic image released by the China National Space Administration on June 4, 2024, which was taken with the panoramic camera on the lander of Chang'e 6 probe, shows a view of the lunar surface. [Photo/Xinhua]

The space administration said the ascender's return to lunar orbit marked the successful completion of the first sampling and liftoff operations on the moon's far side by any country.

The Chang'e 6 spacecraft, representing the world's first attempt to bring samples from the lunar far side back to Earth, was launched by a Long March 5 heavy-lift carrier rocket on May 3 from the Wenchang Space Launch Center in Hainan province. It entered lunar orbit on May 8.

The 8.35-metric-ton probe consists of four major components — an orbiter, a lander, an ascender, and a reentry capsule.

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