China’s Chang’e mission in December
July 2019 is a special year for space history. Other than it being the successful launch of Chandrayaan-2 into earth orbit, it also marks the 50th anniversay of the famed Apollo 11 mission of July 1969 that for the first time saw humans land on the moon.
However, there’s widespread enthusiasm and conmercial interest in several countries for moon missions. The most high-profile is a proposed December mission by China’s Space Administration. This is the Chang’e 5 mission and will be China’s first sample return mission, meaning it aims to come back with least 2 kg of lunar soil and rock samples back to the Earth. The U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has outlined plans to send humans back to the moon by 2024 but proposes to do it in collaboration with private companies as well as the European Space Agency. As a precursor companies have been given contracts to develop payloads that can be sent and successfully landed on the moon.