(Yicai Global) Jan. 23 -- The lander propulsion subsystem of China's Chang'e 5 Lunar Probe has recently passed the hot firing test, marking a major breakthrough in the development of the probe, Xinhua News Agency reported. The project is also at its final testing stage, said the detector's developer, China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation.
Chang'e 5 Lunar Probe represents the last phase of China's lunar exploration program, which is divided into three steps "circling, landing and retrieval." Xinhua quoted the developer company as saying that various assembly related testing operations are currently underway; the technical status and quality of the probe is under control, and the project as a whole has progressed smoothly.
The 8.2-ton Chang'e Lunar Probe is scheduled for launch in late November 2017. The Long March 5 – the most powerful space rocket developed by China to date, will carry the Chang'e 5. The probe will start its mission at Wenchang Satellite Launch Center. The mission will have achieved four breakthroughs in China's aerospace history: first automated sample collection on the surface of the moon, first rocket launch on the moon, first unmanned docking in lunar orbit 380,000 kilometers away from the earth; and the first lunar probe that brings lunar soil to earth at a speed close to the escape velocity, or the second cosmic velocity.
China plans to make about 30 space launches in 2017. The new-generation carrier rockets Long March 5 and Long March 7 will be used in this year's space launches.