A Long March-5 rocket, carrying the Chang'e-5 spacecraft, blasts off from the Wenchang Spacecraft Launch Site on the coast of southern island province of Hainan, Nov. 24, 2020. (Xinhua/Jin Liwang)
BEIJING, Nov. 28 (Xinhua) -- China's Chang'e-5 probe decelerated and entered the lunar orbit on Saturday, completing a vital step on its way to collect and return moon samples, the China National Space Administration (CNSA) announced.
After flying about 112 hours from Earth, an engine on the probe ignited when it was 400 km away from the surface of the moon at 8:58 p.m. and shut down after about 17 minutes, the CNSA said.
The probe performed the braking without incident and entered the lunar orbit successfully, according to the real-time monitoring data.
Chang'e-5, comprising an orbiter, a lander, an ascender, and a returner, has carried out two orbital corrections during the Earth-Moon transfer, achieving its expected goals.
Afterward, it will adjust the altitude and inclination of its orbit around the moon. When the time is appropriate, the lander-ascender combination will separate from the orbiter-returner combination, implement a soft landing on the near side of the moon, and carry out automatic sampling as planned. ■