November 24th Start of the 5th Chang Lunar Mission
Guest essay by Eric Worrall
A low-profile Chinese robotic rehearsal and return mission in progress challenges the popular belief that the US is still the dominant player in space missions.
China's Chang & # 39; e 5 faces historic moon landing to collect moon samples
From Meghan Bartels
China has reached an important milestone in its quest to bring home moon rocks. The Chang & # 39; e 5 Mission spaceship is splitting into two pairs of vehicles in preparation for a moon landing.
The spaceship Chang & # 39; e 5, launched on November 23, is said to be the first mission to bring lunar samples to Earth since 1976. The mission entered lunar orbit on November 28th. According to China's state-run Xinhua News Agency, the mission's orbiter / retrieval vehicle and lander / ascender vehicle separated in lunar orbit yesterday (November 29) at 3:40 p.m. EST (2040 GMT; 4:40 a.m. Beijing time on Nov. 30). This step sets the stage for a landing near the summit of Mons Rümker, a mountain in the Oceanus Procellarum ("Ocean of Storms") region of the moon.
"The spaceship is working well and communication with ground control is normal," said Xinhua. Officials from the Chinese National Space Agency (CNSA) said.
Read more: https://www.space.com/china-chang-e-5-moon-lander-separates-from-orbiter
Why do I think an unmanned robotic mission is such a threat to US space domination?
The reason for this is that China's friend Russia has spent over a decade developing nuclear launch technologies that could afford China a significant expansion into space if, based on that mission, China decides to increase its lunar activity.
In just 10 years, China could build important industrial bases on the moon with the help of Russian reusable nuclear launch vehicles.
By 2030, when Chinese and Russian flags flutter on the moon, the U.S. could face at least two decades of desperate catch-up to return to a game that once dominated America.
Note: Russian nuclear launch technology is based on the US NERVA program of the 1960s. NERVA stationary ground-based tests were seen as an outstanding success at the time, making NERVA a strong candidate for conducting a manned mission to Mars and providing a permanent lunar base planned for 1981. Despite Congressional support from Congress in 1972, the 1973 program was canceled by President Richard Nixon while Nixon was building a complete NERVA launcher while Nixon was embroiled in the Watergate scandal.