China’s Chang’e-5 probe has successfully soft landed on the moon to undertake the country’s first collection of samples from an extraterrestrial body.
The lander-ascender combination of the spacecraft separated from its orbiter-returner combination at around 4.40 a.m. on Monday (Beijing Time), Xinhua news agency quoted the China National Space Administration (CNSA) as saying.
Launched on November 24, Chang’e-5 is one of the most complicated and challenging missions in China’s aerospace history, as well as the world’s first moon-sample mission for more than 40 years.
The spacecraft was performing well and communication with ground control was normal, CNSA said.
The lander-ascender combination executed a soft landing on the moon and it will carry out the automatic sampling.
The orbiter-returner continues orbiting about 200 km above the lunar surface and it is waiting for rendezvous and docking with the ascender.