Chang’e 5 Returns to the Moon

Chang’e 5 has quietly departed from the Sun-Earth L1 point to enter a distant retrograde orbit (DRO) of the Moon, a first.

Pre-empting NASA’s planned 1st use of the orbit during Exploration Mission 1 later this year.

Silence from China.

Off Station

In mid August 2021, the Chang’e 5 service module without any notice was noted to not be on station near the Sun-Earth L1 point where it had been since mid-March 2021. Observers were quick to reacquire the spacecraft’s X-band beacon and it was not long before it was clear from the data that Chang’e 5 was headed back to the Earth-Moon system where it would ultimately enter a Distant Retrograde Orbit (DRO) of the Moon.

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