“China’s Chang’e-6 probe lifts off with samples from moon’s far side in historic first”

The Chang’e-6 probe is seen raising a Chinese flag with a robotic arm on the moon’s dark side. 
Chang’e 6 lunar rover/Weibo

Hong Kong CNN  — China’s Chang’e-6 lunar probe departed from the far side of the moon on Tuesday, moving a step closer to completing an ambitious mission that underlines the country’s rise as a space superpower. In a symbolic moment before takeoff, China also reportedly became the first country to display its national flag on the moon’s far side, which permanently faces away from Earth.

The probe, carrying the first lunar rocks ever collected from the far side of the moon, took off and entered lunar orbit early Tuesday Beijing time, following successful sample collection over the previous two days, according to a statement from the China National Space Administration (CNSA). Its return journey to Earth is estimated to take about three weeks, with a landing expected in China’s Inner Mongolia region around June 25. The successful return of the samples would give China a head start in harnessing the strategic and scientific benefits of expanded lunar exploration – an increasingly competitive field that has contributed to what NASA chief Bill Nelson calls a new “space race.” This is the second time China has collected samples from the moon, after the Chang’e-5 brought back rocks from the near side in 2020.

Earlier this year, Nelson appeared to acknowledge China’s pace – and concerns about its intentions – were driving the American urgency to return to the moon, decades after its Apollo-crewed missions.

https://www.cnn.com/2024/06/04/china/china-change6-moon-lift-off-intl-hnk

Comment: Like NASA administrator Bill Nelson, we must acknowledge that China’s space program is impressive. In addition to several successful Moon missions, China has a working space station and, like us, secret space shuttles doing secret stuff.

During the height of the Cold War, we managed to start cooperating with the Soviets in space with the Apollo-Soyuz mission and eventually building and operating the ISS. I think it’s time to reach out to China to cooperate in space. We can start by inviting a taikonaut onto the ISS. Perhaps Elon could invite a taikonaut or two onto a SpaceX mission. The possibilities of future joint endeavors are endless.

In other space news, the Boeing Starliner finally launched successfully on its way to the ISS and the FAA has approved the next launch of Elon’s Starship.

TTG 

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8 Responses to “China’s Chang’e-6 probe lifts off with samples from moon’s far side in historic first”

  1. babelthuap says:

    Best part; no rainbow flags on it or people saying they are the first blah blah crayon color to do something that has already been done.

  2. d74 says:

    A great achievement and, as far as we know, a flawless one. A good example of China’s great industrial and scientific progress.

    I often consult “Arstechnica”. “Arstechnica” is an implausibly hyper-USA-centric source of information. Basically, there is nothing outside the USA. Everything else is a pathetic attempt to keep up. And Eric Berger, the space columnist, is the standard-bearer.

    Here he is at work.
    After soberly describing the Chinese adventure, he comes to a paragraph entitled ‘Geopolitical Implications’.
    First of all, China plans to send men to the moon by around 2030. The reader learns that the Chinese are at least 60 years behind the Apolo missions.

    Secondly, the USA is not lagging behind the Chinese. Never, Sir!
    I quote:
    “As this plays out, NASA is leading its own international program back to the Moon. NASA’s efforts are messier, uniting a mix of government-only, commercial-led, and semi-private missions back to the Moon. This Artemis Program nominally has a 2026 target for an initial human landing, but no reasonable observer believes this date is real-a more realistic time frame is 2028 to 2032.”
    And, above all, China will lose, that’s for sure. China will lose because it is handicapped by a political bias. It entrusts all its pawns to a state-owned company. A dynosaur. Whereas the astute NASA entrusts the lunar mission to mixed private-state administration companies, much more efficient.

    The rest of the text is more or less the same. To support the point, he feels the need to introduce Autry, co-author of Red Moon Rising. Autry said, the United States needs to land humans back on the Moon before China-even if NASA did so more than five decades ago. Of course, a victory in the race to the moon will be a victory for the free world. Whereas a Chinese advance will be a promotion of the dark age of dictatorships.

    This is what needed to be demonstrated without discouraging the troops.
    https://arstechnica.com/space/2024/06/china-lands-on-the-moon-again-taking-another-step-toward-human-missions/

    I don’t have any dogs in this scuffle. I still think that men in space multiply prices by 10 for zero gain, especially since AI can now take the place of these men.
    The Chinese are setting an example of what is needed.

    Eric Berger’s argument about the advantage of the private sector over the public sector seems to me to be misplaced when it comes to an activity with no guaranteed earnings.
    More prosaically, what great and useful countries are doing with long-term investments relies on a firm and assured state technical administration for the long term. There are plenty of examples. Counter-examples are not uncommon, such as the inability of Western industries to supply Ukraine with ammunition and weaponry ON TIME, at moderate prices and adapted to combat requirements.

  3. Hal Rounds says:

    Apollo – Soyuz. Mercury astronaut Deke Slayton finally got his flight. He was one of the Mercury 7 but had been grounded by a heart murmur.

    The book ‘Dragonfly’ by Bryan Burrough documents the US\USSR cooperation in the Mir space station. It is a good read.

    • TTG says:

      Hal Rounds,

      Thanks for the correction. Of course it was the Apollo-Soyuz mission. I don’t know why I thought it was Gemini.

  4. Jim. says:

    The Chinese Rocket Scientist Left the United States in 1954…To China…and Started Thier Rocket..Sattelite Program…With 2oo People…Nixon and Kissinger…Kick Started
    Chinas Industrial Base..And Financing…in the 70s…into 1993 When Bill Clinton…Al Green Gore…American Aero Space…Went Chinese…Finally Sold China the Machinery they Needed…and Suddenly..by 2000 Chinas Space Program…Went Full Production..Four Launch Sites….Hughs…European Contracts..Failures…But Year After Year…Bigger Rockets…Space Stations…One Immediate Sucess after Another…Sudden Magic….and Those Guys..

    They Got and Bot and Took every thing They Wanted…Obama…Biden….Deals..
    Technology…All Done in China By the Russians..( In the Beginning) Rockets..You can Still See The Booster Designs. Russian…and The Capsules …American..
    Americans……and NADSA. Are Lemmings…We even Hang Out in a Russian Space
    Station…that Leaks Like The ICC..

    No TTG … All Things Chinese are CCP…Military…even Under The Covers..Spooky.

  5. Barbara Ann says:

    Speaking of historic firsts, holy cow Musk knows how to put on a show. Chapeau to the designers of that flap – no spoilers (pun intended) for those of you that haven’t seen it yet. Successful splashdown for the booster and the Starship itself – awesome. Must see stuff.

    • TTG says:

      Barbara Ann,

      I just watched the video of the reentries of the booster and the Starship. That was exciting. Those cameras not only made for great viewing, but imagine all the data obtained for the engineers to make improvements. That flap video was indeed awesome. As it was reentering, I thought of how the SpaceX engineers are standing on the shoulders of the Space Shuttle engineers. You’re right. That is must see stuff. Next launch should be in a couple of months. At this rate, I believe this may be how we return to the Moon.

  6. Wunduk says:

    Multinational cooperation is the only legal option as per the Outer Space Treaty. What the OST did not foresee was the rise of private corporations, who might one day emancipate themselves from the OST signatories. In particular as these corporations could off-shore themselves, and for tax reasons already have moved out. While they would most likely lose all current contracts with the USG, would they then not be free to rebuild capacity elsewhere? Like in a non-sigantory state to the OST closer to the equator? Given that they become similar in capabilities, would one need to have the corporations sign on to the OST too?

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