Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Congrats to CNSA (again)

        The Chinese National Space Agency is due congratulations for successfully retrieving lunar samples in its Chang'e 5 spacecraft today.

        However, unlike CNSA's brilliant achievement of January 2019, when they landed Chang'e 4 on the far side and placed a relay satellite in lunar orbit to talk to it, this was not a First. The Sovs performed this trick three times, with  Luna 16 (September 1970), Luna 20 (February 1972) and Luna 24 (August 1976).

3 comments:

OneBigMonkey said...

Technically not a first, but at least one element of it was. The lunar orbit rendez-vous was the first to be done without a person at the helm!

An amazing mission. They have given a press conference where they say their focus is initially on robotic exploration as people are expensive to get there, but they mention installations on the surface that sound like they might suit a human presence eventually.

expat said...

Good point, OBM. We might also note that Chang'e 5 returned >2 kg but all three Lunas combined only managed 301 grams.

Anonymous said...

Clearly the Chinese have discovered torsion physics of anti-gravity to return such an amount.