BEIJING, Dec. 6 (Xinhua) – China’s Chang’e-5 probe orbiter and return module separated from the spacecraft’s take-off module at 12:35 pm Beijing), according to the China National Space Administration.
The combination of the orbiter and the return module will continue to orbit the Moon and wait for the right moment to return to Earth with moon samples.
Earlier on Sunday, the probe’s ascent module reunited and docked with the orbiter-return combination in moon orbit.
This is the first time a Chinese spacecraft has met and docked in a moon orbit.
Samples collected on the Moon have been transferred from the elevator to the returners, the administration said.
Chang’e-5 is one of the most complex and challenging missions in China’s aerospace history, as well as the first mission to collect moon samples in more than 40 years.
The probe, which included an orbiter, a lander, an ascent and a return module, was launched on November 24, and the blender and ascent combination landed on December 1 in the north of the Mons Rumker region. Procellarum Basin, also known as the Ocean of Storms, on the near side of the Moon.
The aircraft returner is expected to land on the Siziwang flag in the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region of northern China in mid-December.