Chang’e-5 orbiter-turner enters Moon-Earth transfer orbit_English Channel_CCTV (cctv.com)

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China’s Chang’e-5 probe-turner has entered moon-Earth transfer orbit after performing two orbital maneuvers, the Chinese Space Administration (CNSA) said on Sunday.

About 230 kilometers from the lunar surface, the orbiter and turner fired four engines and fired into the moon-Earth transfer orbit at 9:51 a.m. BJT.

After approximately 22 minutes, the engines stopped when the orbiter-turner successfully entered the assigned orbit.

The moon-to-Earth transfer orbit, also known as the Hohmann transfer, is a fuel-efficient pathway that allows spacecraft to transfer between orbits using as little fuel as possible.

The orbiter and turner combination vehicles have now escaped lunar gravity and placed it on a path to Earth.

The orbiter and the turner will soon separate from each other at a point about 5,000 kilometers from Earth.

A re-entry jump, involving a bounce off the atmosphere – a maneuver tested by the mission team in 2014, will take place before the turner returns to Earth alone.

The return of the probe with lunar samples collected on board is expected to land at the Siziwang Banner in northern China’s Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region in mid-December.

The spacecraft, which includes an orbiter, a landing gear, an elevator and a flip-flop, was launched on November 24th. The lander-ascender combination landed on the moon on December 1st.

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