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China tests lunar orbital maneuvers using last in-space component of Chang’e-5 sample return mission

China appears to be using the last in-space component of its Chang’e-5 sample return mission, left in lunar orbit after the samples came back to Earth and the sample ascent capsule was sent crashing to the lunar surface, to test a variety of lunar orbital maneuvers that could be used in future missions.

Chinese engineers have apparently moved it from a near-Moon orbit to what is called a distant retrograde orbit (DRO), shifting back and forth from the Lagrange points on each side of the Moon with respect to the Earth. Though some spacecraft in the Artemis program are planned to use this orbit, this is the first time anyone has done so.

[S]pacecraft activity tracker Jonathan McDowell, also an astrophysicist at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center, told SpaceNews that he believes China is probably using the Chang’e-5 spacecraft gaining experience with astrodynamics. “They are using it as a toy to play around with. It is clearly useful as a stable lunar orbit for future missions, I just don’t think it’s a specific precursor.”

This activity is also par for the course for China. They have previously used other leftover lunar spacecraft to test different orbital maneuvers. The activity also confirms China’s determination to continue its exploration and settlement of the Moon.

Conscious Choice cover

Now available in hardback and paperback as well as ebook!

 

From the press release: In this ground-breaking new history of early America, historian Robert Zimmerman not only exposes the lie behind The New York Times 1619 Project that falsely claims slavery is central to the history of the United States, he also provides profound lessons about the nature of human societies, lessons important for Americans today as well as for all future settlers on Mars and elsewhere in space.

 
Conscious Choice: The origins of slavery in America and why it matters today and for our future in outer space, is a riveting page-turning story that documents how slavery slowly became pervasive in the southern British colonies of North America, colonies founded by a people and culture that not only did not allow slavery but in every way were hostile to the practice.  
Conscious Choice does more however. In telling the tragic history of the Virginia colony and the rise of slavery there, Zimmerman lays out the proper path for creating healthy societies in places like the Moon and Mars.

 

“Zimmerman’s ground-breaking history provides every future generation the basic framework for establishing new societies on other worlds. We would be wise to heed what he says.” —Robert Zubrin, founder of founder of the Mars Society.

 

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