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Old 13-11-2019, 07:43 PM
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China Says Its Mars Landing Technology Is Ready for 2020

Andrew Jones reports at the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers
(IEEE) Spectrum magazine web site on China's forthcoming attempt
to reach Mars.

Originally Posted by Andrew Jones, IEEE Spectrum
China says it’s ready to attempt something only NASA has so far achieved—successfully landing a rover on Mars.

It will be China’s first independent attempt at an interplanetary mission, and comes with two ambitious goals. Launching in 2020, China’s Mars mission will attempt to put a probe in orbit around Mars and, separately, land a rover on the red planet.

The mission was approved in early 2016 but updates have few and far between. Last week, a terse update (available here in Chinese) from the Xi'an Aerospace Propulsion Institute, a subsidiary of CASC, China's main space contractor, revealed that the spacecraft’s propulsion system had passed all necessary tests.

According to the report, the Shanghai Institute of Space Propulsion has completed tests of the spacecraft's propulsion system for the hovering, hazard avoidance, slow-down, and landing stages of a Mars landing attempt. The successful tests verified the performance and control of the propulsion system, in which one engine producing 7,500 Newtons of thrust will provide the majority of force required to decelerate the spacecraft for landing.

Having previously completed tests of supersonic parachutes needed to slow the craft’s entry into the Martian atmosphere, this means China’s Mars spacecraft is close to ready for its mission.
Originally Posted by Andrew Jones, IEEE Spectrum
China’s solar-powered Mars rover will, at 240 kilograms, be twice the mass of China’s two lunar rovers. It will carry navigation, topography, and multispectral cameras, a subsurface detection radar, a laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy instrument similar to Curiosity’s LIBS instrument, a Martian surface magnetic field detector, and a climate detector.

The orbiter will be equipped with a suite of science instruments including moderate- and high-resolution imagers. The pair of cameras will be used once in Mars orbit to image the preselected landing sites ahead of separation of the orbiter and rover.

The main barrier to China launching its mission is the status of the Long March 5 rocket required to get the 5-metric-ton spacecraft on its way to Mars.

The Long March 5 is China’s largest launch vehicle, which had its first flight in 2016. However the second launch, in July 2017, failed to achieve orbit. Following at least two redesigns of the engines which power the rocket’s first stage, the Long March 5 is now ready to return to flight.

The rocket is currently being assembled at the Wenchang Satellite Launch Center on Hainan island in southern China, with launch expected in late December. The mission will aim to send a large satellite into geostationary orbit, and in doing so prove the rocket is ready for the later Mars mission launch.
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